Written by Andrea Belk Olsen, MSC and CEO of Pragmadik.
The coronavirus has transformed our world virtually overnight. Companies have had to change on a dime how they operate and communicate. While this is an incredibly serious situation, it's an opportunity for businesses to re-evaluate their approach to managing change going forward.
So-called "traditional" organizations, where silos, structure, and hierarchy abound, where resistance to change is prevalent, are in for an even rougher road. Once we pass through the pandemic, there will be a major turning point. How do we become more agile, forward-thinking and proactive? How do we sustain an ability to adapt quickly and efficiently to unforeseen circumstances? We might believe this requires the ability to predict future challenges better, or improve the organization's ability to work remotely, or even shore up supply chains. However, the real issue is the mentality of leadership.
Having worked with an extensive amount of organizations on change, leadership is inherently slow to embrace it. This isn't odd, as it's human nature to resist change. But when push comes to shove - when there's a catastrophe, when urgency is at its height, when leaders have no choice in the matter - they act. While hindsight is 20/20, organizations have multiple opportunities to make simple to significant changes which can put them in a better position to weather a storm. Yet, many leaders push back, stating the change would be too disruptive, cost too much, or take too much work to implement. But now, there's no choice in the matter.
We can do better. We can use our corporate courage to embrace change before it is foisted upon us. We can be more open to new ideas and forward-thinking behaviors. We can foster inclusiveness, cross-train employees and empower them to make better decisions faster. We can create a resilient culture that thinks on their feet and is always looking for a smarter way to do things.
I would challenge all organizational leaders to examine their organizational culture and think about how they will transform their companies out of this pandemic to be more adaptive, rather than embracing the status quo. Because as we know, change will come one way or another - and it's much easier to handle if you're primed for it.
About the Author
Andrea's 22-year, field-tested background provides unique, practical approaches to creating more efficient, more competitive, customer-centric organizations. A 4-time ADDY® award-winner, she began her career at a tech start-up and led the strategic sales, marketing and customer engagement efforts at two global industrial manufacturers. She now leads a management and communications consultancy, dedicated to helping organizations transform their organizational cultures from "internally-focused" to "customer-centric".
In addition to writing and consulting, Andrea speaks to leaders and industry organizations around the world on how to craft an effective customer-centric organizations.
Connect with Andrea to access information on her book, workshops, keynote speeches, training or consulting.