What Can the Covid Crisis Teach Us About Resilience: Building Stronger Organizations After COVID19

By Fernando Casado Cañeque, GlobalCAD Director and Camila Lobo, GlobalCAD Communication Manager

As a small-business manager, director of an organization or medium size NGO, your day to day is filled with urgent tasks. Until a crisis hits. Fernando Casado and Camila Lobo from GlobalCAD share insights on building stronger organisations after COVID19.

As a small-business manager, director of an organization or medium size NGO, your day to day is filled with urgent tasks. Most of your work is usually just getting through the day, solving as many issues as possible. There is little – or no – time to take a step back and look at your organization holistically: “are we delivering value in the most efficient way?”; “should we explore diversifying into new markets?”; or “can we maximize social impact by re-designing our projects?” are rarely on your mind.

Until a crisis hits.

The Covid crisis has brought innumerable setbacks to our economic activity, to say the least. Many of us have had to shut down operations completely. Most of us have had to adapt our business models. And we are all not only struggling to deliver our products and services, but many of us are also trying to manage a team that has suddenly gone virtual. While this comes with a lot of stress, it is also a great opportunity to take that step back and see how your organization can come out of this crisis stronger, more resilient.

At GlobalCAD we are used to manage complex projects dealing with diverse ecosystems remotely. Drawing from the expertise and methodologies applied over more than 10 years of work, we have created a manual to help small and medium businesses, organizations and NGOs to successfully overcome the COVID crisis. Here are four takeaways from our approach, which you can download here:

  1. “Know thyself”: It all starts with self-assessment

Before you jump into quick solutions – or start panicking because you can’t find any – take a step back and take a deeper look into your organization. Ask yourself questions such as “what are the most pressing challenges that my organization is facing right now?”; “what challenges will strike us once the crisis ends?”; “What is – or could be – my competitive advantage during and after the crisis?” While you should be conservative with your financial choices, this is also the time to think outside the box, be creative and try new approaches: can you think of new ways to interact with your clients online? Could you partner with another organization to enable your products or services delivery? Could you adapt your activities, so they generate economic value while increasing positive social and environmental impact?

This is also the time to cut bloat and, at least for now, go back to essentials – are there any costs that are not crucial to your operations? Once the crisis is over, could you perhaps go without them?

More likely than not, many of the changes you will make after a thorough self-assessment session will also help your business get back to shape and thrive after the crisis.

1. Ideal times for horizontal leadership among your team

This crisis is hitting us all very hard and it is tough to keep your team motivated while working from home or unsure whether their work will be needed at all. This is a crucial time to understand your team’s motivations and fears and respond the best you can by establishing horizontal leadership frameworks. Your goal should be to empower your team so they support each other and enhance individual leadership in a way they work based on personal results that add to joint common goals. 

While balancing these tasks is challenging, this is an opportunity to strengthen the bonds and team spirit within your workforce, enhancing the individual leadership of each one of them while proposing a more decentralized and free-style horizontal management based on personal results for joint achievement, which will also be beneficial in the long run.

2. Time to partner-up

One of the major lessons from this crisis is that we can’t solve it on our own. If working through partnerships has been an increasingly fashionable across sectors during this last decade, now is more needed than ever. Whether addressing adequate delivery to markets, shortage of technical capacities, lack of access to financial resources, or need to improve regulatory policy for a more enabling environment for your activities, challenges have become too complex to be solved alone.

Good news is, partnering is easier than ever. Technology platforms that ease communication, new waves of cooperativism that present interesting alternatives to traditional capitalism, and growing hybrid governance systems for business models present new opportunities that will not only help manage the Covid crisis more efficiently, but will also present a new way of working in a more integrated and joint manner in the post-Covid era.   


3. Go green: make environmentally sustainable changes to your organization

In a crisis, anything goes and everything that is not essential is simply dismissed. Sustainability measures tend to fall into that category – it’s a “nice to have” but never a priority. However, the Covid crisis can actually be the ideal moment to establish a sustainability strategy and make your business more effective while becoming more environmentally friendly – which could turn out to be a competitive advantage in the future.

Understand how your team is managing home office – could part of your team work remotely on an ongoing basis? This could potentially save on office supplies and rent, while allowing your team to have more flexibility and lower CO2 emissions as they would commute less.

If you went from in person to online meetings with your clients, ask yourself if that could become the default practice, which would again save costs, time and CO2 emissions. Could you take this opportunity to revise how much unneeded printing is done at your office?

From small to big measures, these are all ways in which you can use the crisis as a transition to a new, more resilient and effective way of working.

More information at: https://globalcad.org/en/2020/04/15/covid19/

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