Questions and Topics to Reduce Variability and Improve Visibility in this Ever-Changing New Normal

Posted by David Boulay on Aug 10, 2020 8:56:19 AM

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Perhaps you’ve seen the meme that described 2020 as a unique leap year with 29 days in February, 300 days in March, and 5 years in April. The days and weeks have seemed to drag on – and it's only the middle of 2020. And who’s to say what will unfold in the coming weeks? It has been incredibly challenging to look 30 days ahead, let alone 12 months. You’re left wondering what’s next and when will things settle down.

You are likely brimming with pride for how your team has fared so far. And righty so - be sure to celebrate your successes. Now, the question that remains is how will you sustain the momentum to deal with the variability ahead?

Reflect with your Team

I recommend that you meet with your team weekly to revisit and assess the environment around you if are not already doing so. Use the time to ask reflective questions like:

  • What have we learned in the past week? What’s working and not working?
  • What has changed?
  • What are we unsure about? How might we learn something to inform us?

Topics to Consider

Small and mid-sized manufacturing leaders have been particularly engaged with IMEC on the following topics over the past few months. These topics can serve as guideposts for your weekly review.

  • Health and safety: workplace decontamination and sanitation practices
  • Emergency response: preparedness and response plans
  • Employment: policy and legal questions
  • Remote workplace and cybersecurity protections
  • Financial stability and supplemental funding
  • Supply chain: disruptions and risks
  • Operations: process redesigns
  • making quick market pivots into new products such as making essential medical equipment.
  • seeking virtual marketing and sales recovery solutions,
  • leadership communication and staying connected:
  • Economic and pandemic conditions

Most signs point to a long haul of ups and downs. We’ll all be wondering what’s next. We will have limited visibility and, perhaps, a few restless nights. Using a structured conversation will help you prepare and reduce the impacts of this ever-changing new normal and get a little more visibility and certainty.

Conversation Prompts

These checklists and guides can help prompt your weekly conversation:

If you have questions or need assistance planning for the new normal, get in touch with an expert on Illinois Manufacturing Helpline.

David Boulay

Written by David Boulay

Topics: operations, strategy, Leadership, change management, COVID-19

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