Cultivating post-COVID resiliency: Introduction

Introducing a four-part series explaining the four ways businesses need to adapt in order to remain resilient in the post-COVID era of work.
Nov 19, 2021 • 6 minute read
Jayne Lysyj @JayneyL
Technical Co-pilot
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In the wake of an enduring pandemic, we find ourselves at a historic crossroads trying to navigate the political, social and economic fallout that has occurred.

While we continue to ride out those post-COVID ripples, we too are reflecting on what we have learned from this damaging experience; finding ways in which we can reform, rebuild, and restructure our world to survive both the short-term effects yet flourish despite the long-term uncertainties.

In this series of 4 articles that follow, we will be looking at how the world of work is evolving in line with the shortcomings that the pandemic has laid bare, how companies are evolving to make their enterprises more resilient against risk, and the four critical ways that businesses need to adapt to safeguard their survival in the future. 

A Time of Great Opportunity

In the evolving aftermath of COVID-19 many find themselves looking through a unique window of opportunity. 

One key lesson that businesses have taken from the pandemic is that complacency is the enemy of empires.

Those enterprises which were unwittingly marred by the outbreak are now using this time to regroup, reassess and review. They are making the most of these lessons to start the reconstruction of the economy, healthcare systems, businesses, educational practices and more. 

With casualties still mounting across the globe, the pandemic is one of the most devastating public-health crises in history. Global debt continues to skyrocket, unemployment is reaching an all-time high and the economy continues to shrink. If left unaddressed, these issues will intensify, leaving our already frail world more economically unstable, less ecologically sustainable and in an irretrievably precarious state. 

Ad hoc, incremental fixes will not suffice here, but an entirely new corporate, economic, and social reform is needed. 

Going forward none of us can afford to be complacent, meaning that we are being forced to think creatively, push beyond the status quo and ultimately seek out success. 

We would be remiss not to take full advantage of this opportunity to restructure where we have uncovered weaknesses, to rebuild where there has been destruction, and to adapt willingly to what is needed to thrive in the post-pandemic world. 

What will businesses look like post-COVID?

There is no denying that the aftermath of the COVID crisis has been an austere and challenging time, both emotionally and financially. But if we work together swiftly and collectively, the reset of our social and economic status can be achieved. 

New and existing business models are evolving to align with the burgeoning corporate post-pandemic buzzword: resilience. 

Resilience is especially integral in today’s world as the business environment is becoming increasingly more diverse and unpredictable. 

Enhanced technological evolutions, a thirst for greater connectedness, fears over inequality and climate change are all contributing to the stresses and strains on business systems. 

So, to combat the risks against economic and social instability, business models are evolving towards bolstering resilience. 

Six principles for building a resilient enterprise

Cultivating resilience in your new or existing company requires more than just adopting a few new ideas or concepts. It demands a profoundly different mental model of business.

KoganPage infographic showing Resilience Indicators

Source: KoganPage, What Makes a Resilient Organization?

To start, companies should configure their evolved business model in line with the 6 principles of enterprise resilience.  

1. Diversity

In business, diversity is not solely about employing people from divergent backgrounds, but it is also about curating an atmosphere that nurtures different ways of thinking and doing things. 

To embrace resilience, you need to adopt a diversity of responses to new stresses, having a choice of options in case one system or process fails catastrophically.

2. Functional Redundancy

Functional redundancy (not to be confused with ‘job loss redundancy’) is an integral way to buffer processes and systems against unforeseen shocks. 

This means replicating operations where possible (for example having multiple locations producing the same product) or having numerous set-ups delivering the same end result (functional redundancy).

3. Modularity

Embracing modularity enables individual parts of a process to fail without collapsing the entire system. 

A modular organization can be segregated into smaller portions, all with well-defined interfaces, meaning that specific elements and segments of the process can be redirected or rewired easily in a crisis.

4. Adaptability

Being adaptable requires a certain level of diversity, planned experimentation, and the ability to evolve through trial and error. Processes and structures in adaptive organizations are devised for flexibility and learning rather than stability and rigidity. 

5. Prudence 

Being prudent means that a business operates on the precautionary principle that if something is plausible then it could feasibly happen. 

Prudency in business involves developing contingency plans, scenario forecasting, devising early warning signs, reviewing business vulnerabilities, and being a pragmatic visionary. 

6. Embeddedness

Embeddedness is crucial to long-term success as it involves aligning your company goals and processes with the broader needs of society. 

It is a key way to ensure that a company does not find itself in opposition to society, inviting public resistance or restriction. 

This means embedding your venture in supply chains, business ecosystems, economies and societies. 

What happens if your business isn’t resilient?

In our interconnected and globalized world, entrepreneurs and existing company owners are faced with the most precarious and unpredictable business environment seen in over two decades. 

Perhaps you are a professional founder who has been lucky enough to sail through your career facing plenty of stability and a sense of permanence. 

But every company, regardless of their scale, age or type needs to take steps to ensure that, no matter what happens, you are prepared. 

Being resilient isn’t an afterthought, it’s a proactive plan to ensure your business is on a good footing and prepared for any type of force majeure.

Simply put, without resilience, we fail.

The great reset: 4 critical adaptations your business needs today 

Now you have a foundational understanding of the importance of building a resilient enterprise, we need to look at how businesses should implement essential changes to ensure they survive in this post-COVID economic evolution and continue to bolster resilience. 

In the following series of 4 articles, we will take a broad look at the four adaptations needed by both new and existing businesses alike. These essential adaptations will cover:

1. Moving towards a platform-based business model

Linear business models are neither agile nor resilient enough to withstand major catastrophes like COVID-19.

Drawing on the successes of industry giants like eBay, Amazon, and Uber, we will look at how to quickly and effectively review your business model and implement an approach similar to that of these successful examples. 

Whether that means adopting your own platform-based method or partnering with an existing platform company, we will take you through the transitional steps and detail how to get the necessary assistance to meet your goals. 

2. Reinforcing the skills needed to transition towards digital working

Working remotely was a necessity for many during the COVID-19 crisis, but it has also heightened interest in this style of working. However, the enhanced digital skills and soft skills required by a successful remote workforce can put a strain on businesses.

Here we will look at what successful remote working means, how to develop your business to suit these new ways of interacting, building high-performance teams and effective meeting facilitation. 

We will also look at how to implement these changes, how to use metrics to monitor change and where to get the provisional help you’ll need to see you through the process.  

3. How to assess and develop your current skill set

In order to figure out where you’re going, you need to determine where you are. 

In the third article, we will look at using appraisals and evaluations to examine your current skill set, using provisional help to compile diagnostic programs, and then moving on to developing training platforms to enhance skills, knowledge and processes where necessary. 

4. Futureproofing and future planning for your business

COVID has shown us that planning for the future is difficult. The key is to begin thinking about where demand for work will exist and how you can adapt your business to work fluidly alongside the continual economic evolution that’s afoot. 

In this article, we will look at how uncertainty can be used to your advantage, how freelance workers can suit your need to dip into the employment pool and how to embrace the unknown. 

The COVID-19 crisis has detrimentally impacted every facet of people’s lives worldwide. 

We can’t unlearn those lessons, but we can be encouraged to adapt and lean into those experiences.

It is important that we don’t let sorrow, loss, and tragedy be the only legacy of this pandemic. Let’s use this narrow window of opportunity for a great social and economic reset, a time to evaluate and rebuild for a more stable and infinitely more prosperous future. 

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