10 Ways to Move from Emergency Mode to Recovery Mode

10 Ways to Move from Emergency Mode to Recovery Mode

10 Ways to Move from Emergency Mode to Recovery Mode

After 3 months of lockdown  some organizations are still trying to emerge from being in emergency reactive mode.  As the ‘new normal’ looks set to involve remote working  for the foreseeable future, some are struggling to move in to a more strategic recovery mode.  It’s easier for our Inbox, MS Teams meetings and phone calls to fuel our ‘To Do’ list than it is to address more challenging long-term tasks and projects. 

Many of my recent Executive Business Coaching and Mentoring meetings have included assisting executives in developing and implementing a revised strategic vision or business plan, whilst they are attempting to escape ‘fire-fighting’ mode in order to be able to work ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ it.  Suddenly Covid-19 forced most firms to accelerate their digital transformation in order to bring their working practices online, but for some, the new initiatives have now become just another part of the day-to-day operations to manage, as opposed to a stepping stone to future business diversification and success.

So, how do we move from Emergency to Recovery Mode?  Here are 10 Ways to become less operational and more strategic:

1. Ring-fencing strategic planning and thinking time is one of the most successful ways executives can ensure they focus on strategy implementation and alignment.  For managers, diarising even just one hour a week to both reflect and horizon scan, can prove very productive and result in more  alignment of teams and objectives with the new strategy.

2. The fastest growing companies hold very regular strategy meetings or off-sites to review the vision and direction the company is heading.  Holding virtual strategic planning meetings is now even more important as organizations are forced to further adapt to survive.

3. During weekly meetings, instead of concentrating on regular analysis of the usual more ‘operational’ financials, it is important to study competitor, customer and product/service data in order to view changing habits and requirements post-lockdown.

4. To ensure teams are aligned with the revised business goals, all team meetings should adhere to an agenda that also includes strategic objectives and doesn’t focus solely on operational updates; any relevant operational data should be emailed for comments in advance. 

5. Weekly  meetings should be short with agenda items to include information on any potential impact of any additional economic, political or technological changes in order to guarantee that the company remains agile in these unprecedented challenging times and increasingly VUCA world. 

6. Any trends and opportunities to diversity, and any pitfalls to avoid, should also be spotted in order to align the business strategy with customer and staff requirements, all whilst adhering to the new safety guidelines.

7. Limiting focus to 5 or 6 key priorities is proven to assist executives in concentrating on what’s 'Important', not 'Urgent', according to Quadrant 2 of Stephen Covey’s Time Management grid.  The associated ‘To Do’ list should be aligned with this, setting regular milestones and reviewing progress.  Anything else should be deleted, delegated or deferred. 

8. In the age of 24/7 connectivity and globalization, executives are often having to juggle priorities across timezones; deciding what is ‘Important’ not ‘Urgent’ also applies to emails, just as much as to other work.  Becoming reactive to emails is one of the biggest killers of strategy execution, so mastering the Inbox is another key to achieving strategic objectives.

9. In addition, deciding quickly on small matters can free up time to consider the likely increasing number of tough calls to be made regarding redundancies, restructures and potential M and As.

 10. Managing poor performance swiftly and effectively will also help in ensuring HR and executives are able to focus on strategy implementation and the future to deliver business success. 

The companies most likely to succeed post-pandemic are those with authentic, agile leaders, who are able to combine time to review any failures and weaknesses with ‘creative space’ to be able to look ‘over the parapets', to horizon scan and identify potential opportunities.

Good luck and stay safe.

About Jill Maidment

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