• Shohreh R Aftahi, PhD

From Surviving to Thriving: Reframing the Post-COVID-19 Reality


For many, the toughest leadership test is to discover how to bring a business back in an environment where a vaccine has not been found, and economies are still uncertain. To make a stronger comeback, companies should reexamine their business model as they return to full speed. Urgency is critical, and not even a moment to be lost. Those who act with urgency and step-up their game will be far more prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities in the new normal and will differentiate themselves from the competition.

The four strategic areas to focus on are: recovering revenue, reconsidering the organizational structure, reforming operations, and accelerating the adoption of digital solutions. We will discuss these four areas of focus in a series of four articles.




Rapidly Revenue Recovery

Velocity matters: it is not enough for companies to recover revenues steadily as the crisis halts. They will need to acutely rethink their revenue profile, to position themselves for long-term success, and to get ahead of the competition. To do this, companies must SHAPE up.

Have a Start-up mindset. The start-up mindset favors action over research and trying over analyzing. Establish a vigorous rhythm to inspire and urge agility and accountability by having daily team check-ins, weekly 30-minute CEO reviews, and bi-weekly 60-minute reviews.

Human-centered at the core: Companies must rethink their operating model based on how their people work best. Gallop and other researchers have reported that sixty percent of businesses surveyed in the last two months said that their new remote operating models were proving as much 30 percent or more effective than the traditional operating model.

Identify and prioritize: What’s important is to identify the principal sources of revenue and, on that basis, take the “now or never” actions that need to happen if the recovery is to accelerate fully. This may include marketing campaigns targeted to win back customers. Developing customer experiences centered on what matters to customers, like focusing on health and safety. Consider adjusting pricing and promotions based on new and current data. It is common during crises that companies shift to protector mentality and stop all spending. Of course, sound financial decisions are crucial at all times; however, don’t freeze your spending, reallocate spending to proven revenue growth drivers. Retrain the sales force to support remote selling. Create flexible payment terms. Digitizing sales channels, and automating processes to free up the sales force to sell more.

Acceleration of digital transformation: It’s already common knowledge: the COVID-19 crisis has fast-tracked the shift to digital. The digital transition is allowing companies to successfully use technology and advanced analytics to combine new sources of data, with their insights to connect with more customers and make better and faster decisions that are accelerating revenue growth.

Purpose-driven customer strategy: Companies need to understand what customers’ perception of the marketplace has changed; they will value a post-COVID-19 approach to engagement. Developing a new design and tailored experiences based on those insights is key to not only recovering but also increasing revenue.

Supply Chain Ecosystems and adaptability: The crisis-related disruptions in supply chains have forced companies to be more adaptable. That means changing the ecosystem and considering new ways of collaborations with partners.

Once you have identified the areas of focus for your company and strategized, these measures need to be meticulously prioritized to reproduce their influence on earnings and the company’s ability to execute quickly.