Setting the Right Business Strategy To Tide Over Tough Times Everyone is working towards ensuring an appropriate balance between the current situation and long-term ambition of their organizations

By Kazutada Kobayashi

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Organizations across the globe are realigning their operations to ensure seamless business continuity in these unprecedented times owing to COVID-19. Everyone is working towards ensuring an appropriate balance between the current situation and long-term ambition of their organizations.

These difficult times call for all hands on deck and leadership plays a pivotal role in keeping the ship sailing by taking constant strategic decisions. Business leaders today are focusing on the business continuity challenges presented by COVID-19 and the need to consistently work towards keeping employees as safe as it could be expected under the circumstances. Some of the basic steps like ensuring the timely remuneration, encouraging them to participate in learning and development programmes and coming up with significant frameworks to maintain work-life balance, help employees stay positive.

Another epiphany that all businesses have experienced is the true importance of digital transformation, a term that has been a part of every business narrative for the past few years. The current situation has made the businesses realize their technological capabilities to run remotely and engage with employees effortlessly and help them transition them into this new normal. It has provided the tools we need to connect despite being housebound and ensures instant communication flow around the world, where all segments can work in tandem.

Businesses have experienced the need to carefully evaluate the current performance, set the objectives for the remainder of the year and plan the way forward strategy for 2021 to effectively combat the situation that has arisen due to this catastrophe.

To maintain the business stability and continuity during these troublesome times, organization across should be implementing these four strategies as the top priority:

Ensure the safety of employees: With the number of COVID-19 cases on a rise, both employer and employees need to adapt to the new normal. While doing so, all safety norms need to be strictly adhered to. Organizations must reinforce their commitment towards the employees' safety and well-being to the effect of boosting their morale under such difficult times. These times have taught us not only the importance of physical wellness but mental health too which should be the key focus for all employers. Leaders must also be at the forefront to build trust within their employees and prioritise their well-being.

Setting the priorities for the future: Most businesses have been impacted due to COVID-19 in one way or another. Organizations must set the priorities right for the future and share the vision with the employees for a collaborative effort in achieving goals. The pool of opportunities will help employees look forward to mapping their progress and help businesses compensate for the year 2020.

Understanding the overall impact: While these are difficult times and every organization is trying to achieve growth, it is critical to understand what the overall impact of this pandemic been on business health. Once the impact has been clearly understood and defined, the leaders get a clear picture which would enable them to set the right course for the entire organization and tide through tough COVID-19 times. The transparency also makes the employees feel directly responsible for cumulative growth and paves the path for positive business continuity.

Encouraging employees and become a transformational organization: Leaders today need to be more compassionate and show more empathy towards the employees. It is an opportune time for them to know more about the values, interests, hobbies, strengths and motivations of their employees. In doing so, the organization can encourage belongingness and motivate them to deliver their best as business growth is directly proportionate to its people growth. Instilling the responsibility helps bring out the best in the employee as they have direct visibility in the change they drive.

If a silver lining can be found, it might be in the falling barriers to improvisation and experimentation that have emerged among customers, markets, regulators, and organizations. In this unique moment, businesses can adapt and progress more quickly than ever before. The ways they learn from and adjust to today's crisis will deeply influence their performance in tomorrow's changing world, providing the opportunity to retain greater agility as well as closer ties with customers, employees, and suppliers. Those that are successfully ready to make gains "stick' will likely be more successful during recovery and beyond.

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Kazutada Kobayashi

President and CEO, Canon India

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