There is no doubt that the past 12 months has seen the majority of businesses tested beyond measure. Brexit has changed the business environment, and it almost goes without saying that the pandemic and the required response has applied pressure to companies, never before seen.
Over the year, we’ve seen businesses adapt to ever-changing Government regulations and restrictions, respond to the evolving needs of consumers and clients, and face uncertainty in terms of financial support, on top of the effects of a hugely impacted economy.
However, it is now time to switch-off survival mode as we venture into the ‘new normal’ as restrictions ease.
Many lessons have been learnt and many will continue to be, as we navigate a world post-COVID. Therefore, it is wise to focus on building resilience across your team in order to thrive and be well-prepared for whatever comes your way.
By the dictionary, a resilient business is one that can survive unplanned shocks or disruptions. I think it’s certainly fair to say that the events of last year were unplanned and disruptive! Businesses which can survive the unplanned tend to share a few common hallmarks:
- Diverse resources
- Strong relationships and networks
- Constant reviews of their situation
- Ability to respond quickly and decisively to changing situations
With these in mind, here are five key traits you can improve to ensure your business has all it needs to remain resilient while focusing on growth.
The following advice is futile if your team does not have a good understanding of what your business is aiming to achieve. Each member should have full visibility of your goals and objectives. Your employees should know exactly what they are expected to bring to the wider vision, in order to remain focused and to clarify what areas of the business they are supporting.
It will provide a real boost to morale if staff are aware of what their contribution brings to the bigger picture. Plus, your staff will know what key priorities are and can narrowly focus on these.
What’s more? Regular contact and clear channels of communication can ease worry among colleagues, which can hinder performance. In addition, this ensures they are able to work to the best of their ability, with full knowledge of what is required in times of trouble and beyond. If your employees feel confident that they are able to talk to other members of the team without judgement, you’ll find it will pave the way for vital discussions and considerations that may improve overall business operations and can certainly improve a team’s ability to react in a crisis.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!
Having a plan is vital for pushing a business forward when the unexpected happens, and that can mean understanding how your team and sections of your company can adapt way ahead of time. Being open-minded and flexible has saved many businesses before and during the pandemic. You’ll recall the multiple companies that completely changed their operations at the beginning of the crisis in order to produce the supplies Governments desperately needed.
Long-term planning is paramount but having the foresight to know when to make change and implementing it quickly is also a necessity. As with the previous point regarding communication, keeping conversations flowing about the businesses future on a regular basis will help the entire team understand the plan of action and ensures they can be well-equipped to adapt their output if required.
Now the worst is over and we can begin to settle back into our daily lives, the first thing on your agenda is likely to be producing that all important crisis management plan, robust enough to contend with an internal or external ‘disaster’. However, when normality sinks in and the COVID-19 situation becomes more manageable it can be easy to become complacent when things are running smoothly. It is vital not to forget the overwhelming challenges that were faced. It is crucial that we continue to refer to this experience to keep on learning and adapting.
Therefore, you should ensure you are regularly monitoring your crisis management plan and reworking it so it remains up-to-date and relevant to your business. Consider asking different members of the team to review the piece each quarter and allow them to voice their opinions on anything that needs updating or addressing. This will ensure you can work calmly and efficiently should things take a difficult turn.
Diversify all elements of your business in order to ensure you can withstand sudden changes. Hiring diversely ensures your team can work efficiently and creatively together, in hiring people across a variety of backgrounds, ages, genders, ethnicities and otherwise, you are able to broaden your businesses abilities to think outside the box, especially in times of crisis. Encouraging communication is always crucial and opening lines of conversation between different members of the team, boasting a variety of specialisms means you’ll be able to troubleshoot immediately, should you need to.
As a result of Government restrictions off the back of the pandemic, many businesses have learnt a valuable lesson in diversifying operations. Therefore, it is logical to incorporate these kinds of scenarios in any future crisis management plans. For example, keeping software in place and up-to-date should remote working be required. Think about offering your services online using eCommerce solutions permanently. Set up backups within your supply chain should operations be affected.
There is lots to consider, but having a plan B is always worth it. By thinking in these terms the day-to-day running of your company is likely to change for the better. A diverse mindset will improve innovation in terms of product changes, priorities and growth. In introducing new ideas beyond the management team you’ll find answers incredibly quickly.
One factor that may be overlooked but has a huge impact on a businesses ability to be resilient in the face of change.
It is crucial for you and your team to get into a habit of viewing every challenge as an opportunity. This isn’t always easy, especially when hit by problems you may not have encountered before, but always try to frame these setbacks in a positive light. Supplier struggles? Maybe it is time to scout out a firm that can provide you with a better service. Targets not being hit? It is your chance to re-evaluate what is working and what isn’t.
Paying attention to the small wins is just as important as the big. Your team is much more likely to feel motivated and assert themselves in the long run. Praising all ideas will allow your employees to feel like their contributions really matter and will enable them to come up with the solutions quicker when in process of averting a crisis.
A positive mindset won’t automatically equal growth, but there is no room for limitations when it comes to your business so you want to banish an environment where negativity leads the way. Retraining your brain will lighten the mood when you face situations that put you and your staff to the test.
The most important step with all the above is to constantly review your progress with each and put in the necessary steps to improve when times are good. This way, when times are bad you’ll be ready to face it head on.
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