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Overcoming Adversity: Practical Lessons to Survive and Prosper in the Pandemic

By Bruno Guicardi, President of CI&T

 Being agile and resilient has never been more crucial than during this pandemic. As the UK and many other countries head into further months of lockdown, businesses must continue to adapt their models to survive now and flourish later. While the situation may seem never-ending, there are still opportunities to grow if you take the right approach.

What has been true this whole year and will continue to be vital is making smooth transitions no matter what is thrown your way. Also, maintaining efficiency and focusing the outcomes that your business – and customers – need will help you to strive. Here are a few specifics that might help.

Consider all of your stakeholders.

Every crisis is an opportunity to increase your credibility and earn the trust of your clients, customers, partners and community by helping instead of selling. Looking back on a year that has been anything but “business as usual” we must also embrace that usual has now changed – for everyone. One of the learnings that can come out of this shift is the reminder that we should practice empathy, compassion and patience. And don’t just talk about this, update your value proposition — make sure that everyone is supported in the new ways or working as well as new goals for the organisation.

Take an honest look in the mirror.

Think about how your organisation is operating currently. How did you respond in March? How are you responding differently now? What recent adjustments have you made that you should continue in the future? Perhaps you discovered that allowing more flexibility in the workplace and empowering your employees, even more, has boosted productivity. Another example may be a new focus on corporate social responsibility and contributing to different communities that you want to continue to support in the future.

Bruno Guicardi
Bruno Guicardi

You should also take a look at your backlog of digital initiatives, and don’t be afraid to be ruthless. If an item will not generate revenue, reduce your operating costs or help you adapt to new ways of serving your customers now, then move on to the next item. Prioritise what really needs to be done right now. This will help your employees focus and your customers remain happy.

Your people are your greatest asset.

Almost all of us transitioned to a fully remote workforce at some point this year. Now you might be anticipating that becoming your new norm or you might be planning on migrating back to the office when the time is right, either way, the we cannot lose focus on our employees.  Continue to check in with your teams frequently just to chat about how they’re doing or feeling and give them the space to freely express how they feel and see how you can help.

Now is the time to revaluate your remote network infrastructure, did you throw it together earlier this year with duct tape and hot glue. With business and operations continuing to be conducted in multiple places around the globe, it’s imperative to embrace best in class remote work capabilities. Ensure security measures are in place — keep people connected securely and make sure these measures are supporting the current needs of your organisation and of your customers.

You’re still a business, think like one.

No matter what is going on, you still have a business to run. Really listen to the market and stay attuned to new consumer behaviours. Offer relevant advice and content that helps them deal with whatever impact they are feeling from the shifting landscape. Based on what you may find, hear or observe — start to think about what adjustments you can make now and what changes you may need to implement post-crisis.

Cash is still king. During these times, it is especially important to be on top of what’s happening with your customers and suppliers. This will give you better visibility of what your cash flow will look like. Keep an eye on your cash position and review cash flow forecasts regularly and discuss any contingency plans. Things change very quickly every day and you may need to make well-informed decisions in a pinch.

Look to the future.

Focusing on the long-term perspective can help your organisation come out of these tough times even stronger.

Use this time wisely to be even more productive — review your processes, think about new products and services, and so on. Create a plan for any crisis. There is no way of telling how long this will last, but the fact is, recovering from the pandemic for many businesses will take some time, and no better time than now to prepare for how you can make that happen.

We must remember that every company is facing the same unknown. Whatever the external conditions are, your business and your people are still the same. Prioritise your goals, take change in your stride and flourish.