Leadership Series: Managing in the COVID-19 Crisis

Many of you may be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Having to convert to virtual operations and loss of revenue are the most likely impacts. So, how does one survive this with the least amount of damage?

Managing through CrisisThe formula for how to manage during emergency or danger conditions is actually counter-intuitive. Most managers consider times of prosperity to be the point at which investment is made in growing the company. The reverse is actually the case, times of prosperity signal that one should conserve, build up reserves so as to be able to get through the next down cycle. Why? Because all businesses have cycles of prosperity and recession. The economy changes, competition changes, technology changes, etc.

It is during a downturn that you should invest in the company. Raise its market presence through marketing, invest in positive changes to overcome competitive and technology changes. Difficult to do when scared by the decline in sales and cash, but necessary nonetheless.

So, what to do in this downturn? Spend time thinking through steps that could be taken now that would position the company well when the virus crisis has subsided. Have you been too busy during times of prosperity to retool your product and service offerings? Could you invest time and energy into improving processes, so that you emerge more efficient and effective? Could you re-brand (takes considerable time) during this period?

Does the crisis offer an opportunity? Could you step up as a corporate citizen in the community to raise your profile? For example, Wal-Mart, Target and others are offering space in their parking lots for drive thru testing. Could you offer information on your web-site that would be helpful? Could you use logistics capacity to assist with what will be a logistical nightmare in terms of testing, supplies, food delivery and the like? What could you offer to employees, customers and community that would strengthen your employee and brand loyalty? If you need to borrow to make such investments, if targeted and executed well, you will likely reap a positive return on investment.

Wishing you all the best in these hard times.



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