It's Time For Your Corona Spring Strategy
15 questions to help shape your strategy for the new normal
The global pandemic has confronted every business owner and leader around the world with the same question – what does the new normal mean to my business? Every geography, industry, and business has been impacted. The hospitality industry lost its sales overnight. On the other extreme, grocery and food delivery services have struggled with an overnight surge of demand. Nobody knows what the new normal will be or when it will arrive.
LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, has adapted their products during the crisis in various ways. They converted factories from perfume to hand sanitizer and repurposed their production to make protective face masks. Philips, the health technology company, rapidly restructured its delivery capability to manufacture and ship four times the ventilators that they could have produced before the crisis.
Other companies, on a more local scale, have also adapted their businesses to thrive during these uncertain times. Restaurants, which saw their doors closed suddenly, have been able to reach their customers in new and creative ways. The Côte brasserie chain of restaurants in the United Kingdom launched Côte at Home in April. They now provide boxed meals to their customers to enjoy at home. Taking this concept to the next level, Forte Tapas, a high-end restaurant in Las Vegas, not only provides meal kits, but some of the kits come with a video cooking experience with celebrity chef Nina Manchev.
It will not be possible to maintain the current state of emergency indefinitely. Innovative business leaders are now rethinking their temporary measures and determining what will be part of the new normal they design for their business. The Corona Spring Strategy is based on the free Simplicity Scan developed by Chris Parker and is available for free to download at Ebullient.com. He described the scan as, “a practical tool to help people simplify their thinking to accelerate their business.”
Formulating the Corona Spring Strategy for your business can be as easy as answer the below fifteen questions:
1. Do you have the right mindset?
As the dynamics of our marketplaces are changing dramatically, have you adjusted your mindset from scarcity to abundance in order to see the new opportunities?
2. Are you able to communicate quickly?
Do you have a process in place to ensure the next best actions you decide are clear to everyone involved and allow you to change direction quickly when required?
3. Have you agreed the possible risk scenarios?
There are endless opinions about whether the recovery will be U, V, L or other shapes. Do you have regularly scheduled times to assess the new and emerging risks to your customers, employees and the rest of your business?
4. Has your purpose evolved due to the crisis?
Now that your business has been put under extreme pressure, have you lived up to what you thought the purpose of your business was before the crisis? Have you discovered a different, perhaps more meaningful, reason for your business to exist?
5. Have you discovered insights about your customers?
As we have all gone through this crisis together with our customers, have you learned more about the real pains and gains experienced by your still loyal customers?
6. Have you adapted or simplified your product?
Many businesses simplified their products and services in order to reduce cost or to increase volume. Should these changes you implemented be made permanent? What should return to how things used to operate?
7. Can you maintain your customer journey with social distancing?
Has your designed customer journey held up under the pressure of the last few months? Are you able to further improve your customer journey in order to make it safe for your customers and employees?
8. Have you reduced your planning horizons?
Long-term planning has been rendered useless. Do you have a portfolio of plans based on possible scenarios? Do you have a way to communicate changes of strategy quickly and transparently?
9. Can you avoid adding back unnecessary bureaucracy?
Regular reporting and performance management has most likely been compressed to the bare minimum during the crisis. What bureaucracy from the past has been proven unnecessary, and can you avoid bringing it back into the organization.
10. Are there new markets you can reach at a distance?
With the introduction of delivering products and services at a distance and virtually, are there new markets that are open to you? Is there a new competition arriving unexpectedly?
11. Is your brand still relevant?
Has your brand remained relevant during the crisis or does it need to be fundamentally adapted to the next normal?
12. Can you improve the health and safety of your people?
Have you earned loyalty with your people by working hard to ensure their emotional, physical and financial safety, or is serious leadership work required to regain their trust?
13. Can you improve the safety and availability of your data?
Has your data proven to be securely accessible by people who need to access it from a distance, such as working from home or from alternative office spaces?
14. Are there any temporary tools which should be made permanent?
Many businesses have adopted new collaboration tooling during the crisis. Will you maintain these as new standards, or do you need to further invest to improve formal and informal communication between people?
15. Can you keep your processes simple?
Are any of the process changes made during the crisis proving to have improved productivity structurally? Should these now be considered the new standard procedure, or is more work required to achieve the next normal on how you work?
The Corona Spring Strategy can be created by an individual leader or with a leadership team. For individuals, it is recommended to answer the above questions more than once, and to write down your answers each time. This will unlock more insights and ideas. Leadership teams should answer the questions individually and then engage in an active dialogue about the points which people clearly agree and where they clearly disagree. The focus should be on creative problem solving and dialogue, and then make clear decisions on what to do and what not to do.
The leadership of Granadilla Swim, a boutique swimwear company base in Cape Town, had the foresight when the crisis hit to establish an entirely new business based on their existing capabilities. Overnight, their clothing stores were closed, and they immediately saw two huge problems emerging in their community. People were not able to get fresh produce from grocery stores, and local farmers were not able to sell their crops to restaurants and hotels. Within three weeks, they had created Granadilla Eats and solved this problem.
Hannah Duxbury, a Director at the newly created fresh-produce delivery company, explained the source of their inspiration, “We want to support the local farmers, who lost their business overnight, and ensure that our community has fresh produce delivered safely to their homes.” An example of this is when someone posted on their social page that Valota Farming, a local farmer who served only restaurants and hotels, had 900 heads of lettuce available. Granadilla helped get this fresh produce to people throughout the Cape Town area. Three months after they started the new business, the have gone from delivering fresh vegetables to now providing full make-it-yourself pizza kits.
The Corona Spring Strategy for your business can be temporarily changing your products like LVMH to make medical and safety equipment, or it can have structural efficiency improvement like Philips. Côte at Home and Forte Tapas added new delivery options in order to continue serving their customers during the crisis. Granadilla is an example of using your mindset and skills to solve entirely new problems in your community.
The initial shock of the Corona Crisis is now over for most businesses, and we are collectively asking what the new normal will mean for our business. The Corona Springs Strategy is a way for you to take control of your new normal and design the best strategy to survive and thrive.