2020 came to change everything. And companies have launched new strategies and accelerated plans to deal with it.
This is the year that nobody anticipated. Cancellation of trips, isolation, panic buying, factory closures, changes in production lines, saturation of health services, or skyrocketing unemployment were not in the plans of governments or companies. In the risk section of any business report, the possibility of a pandemic on the scale of the current one was not considered, with COVID-19.
What most of the population seems to be clear is that, after disasters or crises of various kinds, a new reality emerges. What most people seem to be clear about is that after disasters or crises of various kinds, a new reality emerges. The role of companies influences the construction of this new normality and their leaders are already preparing for it.
The essential thing is to understand that the pandemic caused by the virus is not over. Even if the infection curve starts to decrease, as long as there is no vaccine, the only thing that is done is to buy time to understand the management of the infection in the societies, to get more inputs and to improve the health services, says Gilberto Lozano, leading partner of Strategy of the consulting firm EY Mexico.
“As it does not end and there may be subsequent waves of infection, what we recommend is that companies really become resilient, that they have protocols for governance, risk, personnel management, technological systems, continuity of operations and to manage their production chains,” explains the specialist.
For this to succeed, the role of the leader will be more fundamental than ever. “Business leadership will be much more aware that their actions have an impact on society; we can no longer stay with the leader who wants to seek a return on investment. It’s knowing what happens to society with the decisions that are made,” said Carlos Salazar Lomelín, president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), during a virtual chat organized by the EGADE business school.
The companies had to react quickly. This is what will change within the organizations.
Social commitment: The success of companies goes beyond the value of their shares or their income, and also lies in their ability to do their bit with society and respond to the current health crisis with their value proposition, says Carlos Zegarra, partner in Management Consulting at PwC Mexico.
“The measures of success are related to companies that show a purpose towards the community, which now ask themselves: ‘Why do I exist, what needs I satisfy and how do I help to meet the needs of the communities where I develop’. Customers generate greater loyalty with those who have a clear purpose beyond the financial issue and the team is more aligned with companies with values,” he says.
2. The role of the leader: Leaders have made strategic and fast decisions on the fly, which Jorge Ponga, partner of Clients and Industries of the consulting firm Deloitte Mexico, points out as an opportunity to redefine roles within the organization, under three aspects: centralize decisions in close management teams and thus show a solid executive team, make a fast analysis of cash flows to articulate economic scenarios and identify “non-negotiable” factors, so that any initiative is taken around them. In the companies, a command center began to operate that is in close contact with the internal collaborators, hence the need to strengthen the attraction of talent.
3. Ways of working: Some organizations started with distance working schemes, but with the health situation, the home office became an obligation. This measure could now be adopted by alternating office attendance, since digital tools and some costs in physical or maintenance spaces are taken advantage of, says Héctor Márquez Pitol, director of Institutional Relations of the recruitment firm Manpower Group.
“The most important thing is to think about how to get the staff back in by maintaining distance, making their movement and office space safer. The health measures will continue and will be accompanied by changes in workplaces and staggered schedules,” he estimates.
4. The return model: Nothing will be the same anymore. “The changes that will come will enter into a new normal, we are not going to return to the way we were before,” says Sergio Waisser, Managing Partner of the McKinsey consulting firm in Mexico. Not only will the way we work change, with greater health safety measures, but also the way we face risks.
“We see a stage of mobilization and we face the current disruptions. What follows is the recovery, where those companies that can respond in an agile, fast and integral way are the ones that are going to differentiate themselves from the competition. Finally, there is the capitalization of the new normality, in which firms develop competitive advantages with winners and losers,” says Carlos Zegarra.
Author: Alejandra Espinoza Juárez, Expansion