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Post Lockdown: The New Beginnings A lot has and will change-whether it is business sentiment, remote working or even emotional quotient of people around us.

By Sankar Chakraborti

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India is under Lockdown 2.0. It has come with more nuances and high expectations especially given the success of the first round. A lot has and will change—whether it is business sentiment, remote working or even emotional quotient of people around us, the corporate world will not be the same.

While the first lockdown was sudden, there has been enough time for all of us to mull over and prepare for the second phase. Sharing a few points from my personal experience which will be very crucial as we will move ahead during the new phase.

Prepare: Buckle up to commence business as usual, when the world starts moving, whether now or later. Prepare and plan the roster for the procurement of consumables. Before your on-ground team takes over, engage with your admin and IT teams now and instruct them to begin their work of setting up and maintenance as required to avoid any glitches when the production team takes over.

Play out: As uncertainty looms, a lot is unknown today. Use your experience and expertise to play out various scenarios to address all the stakeholders, their anxieties and vagaries to preserve their confidence. While the lockdown is announced till May 3, 2020, be prepared for third scenario too. Design and decide your action points for each scenario and the trigger mechanism. Involve your teams, up and down. Gear up your army as war is never fought alone.

Hold your horses: Don't shy away if the worst-case scenario basis your math gives the woeful output of default or delay in debt repayment or salary payment. Don't give up yet. Discuss and reach out to the affected stakeholders. Be honest about the challenges, give your plan to address and ask for the help you need from them. When you operate from the zone of integrity, your vendors, employees, and lenders will wear your empathy hat. They will be there for you.

Be prudent: Cash is most important for you now. Stretch every penny. You may need to prudently decide to postpone some steps like shifting to a bigger office. But you may still go ahead in revamping your technology stack or ramping up your product offerings. Conserve, but don't go in hibernation.

Explore: The world has changed and a lot has been explored as workaround means to keep going in this lockdown. Explore these new possibilities even when lockdown eases. For example, if your colleagues delivered with same or higher productivity while working from home and they are fine continuing with it for some more time, allow them. Ask them. Let them decide.

Inform and explain: Interact and update all your stakeholders. For instance, your family is also an important stakeholder. Keep them informed of your situation and tough times at play. Seek their cooperation—whether it is about letting you work for long hours or postponing certain luxuries, let them be involved. The time may demand more work now for a better life tomorrow. Explain them, keep them informed and they will become your strongest support system.

Recovery is ultimately in your hand: Envisage a world in the recovery phase, plan for the optimistic (though rationale) scenario as much as you prepare for the worst-case and prepare accordingly. Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities; brainstorm, let your imagination work for you. Step out of your normal as we have a new normal now.

Step-up, buckle up and shift the gears now.

Sankar Chakraborti

Chief Executive Officer, Acuité Ratings & Research

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