By Phil Noble , Clara Yates   /

Thoughts for now and tomorrow

Organisations are facing significant challenges, both now and also into the future, as a result of COVID-19. We offer some thoughts on the things that organisations can be doing to respond to these challenges. We also offer some ways to think about positioning your organisation for a sustainable recovery.

The Covid-19 crisis drives a multitude of challenges

Organisations are facing a range of immediate concerns, including impacts on current working arrangements, volatile changes in customer demand, disruption to the supply chain, financial instability, and significant mental health issues. On top of that – there are also a range of longer term considerations that organisations must start putting their minds to. These include changes in product, service and channel preferences, longer term changes to working arrangements, a stronger drive for diversification, and even changes in international frameworks for cooperation. The exhibit below summarises some of these challenges.

Exhibit: Challenges, now and into the future

Executives need to carefully prioritise their focus

In weighing up what to do next, leaders need to ensure they are focused on the right critical/strategic decisions. This might mean getting support on matters that may not need immediate attention but may be critical in the long run, so that as the situation evolves, the organisation has been developing its capability and readiness in parallel. The exhibit below highlights a simple action prioritisation framework to consider.

Exhibit: An action prioritisation framework

Existing skills and capabilities can be leveraged

Looking through a 4 dimensional lens, leaders can define a plan of attack. Firstly, priorities should be clearly set, and agreed with senior leaders. Secondly, the day to day cash and customer position should also be taken into account. Thirdly, people are critical – whether that is enhanced communication, or a greater focus on wellbeing. Finally, activities surrounding the recovery and response effort, should be viewed as a series of projects, taking advantage of any existing transformation or PMO toolkit.

Exhibit: 4P’s of response


– Determine what areas of the business should be the focus
– Consider a framework for prioritisation (e.g. as shown within this document)
– Optimise resource allocation
– Maintain general awareness of priorities – publish these as required/share
– Understand your organisation’s cash position
– Run a variety of scenarios on cumulative cash balance – know what levers to pull
– Review cost reduction and deferral options
– Use analytics/BI to share key data points
– Keep a specific eye on risks – update a rolled up risk matrix regularly
– Maintain ongoing and open communication with staff most likely on a daily basis
– Ensure staff wellbeing – clarity around ways of working, changes, and hygiene factors
– Use a crisis as an opportunity for new leadership opportunities
– Generally exhibit a higher degree of balanced but positive feedback
– Use tools in the PMO/transformation toolkit to attack the problem
– Consider a “war room” approach (even online)
– Continue to work in an agile way with daily stand-ups
– Use key milestones and deliverables (over sprints or other timeframes) to achieve specific goals
– Be clear on roles and responsibilities
– Keep it simple – use action lists!

Transformation capabilities can and should be leveraged

Your organisation likely already has significant capabilities internally within the team that can be leveraged at this time to help respond to the crisis. These include the project management and agile toolkit, data manipulation skills, flexible ways of working that may already be in place, data-driven decision making, and people skills.

Exhibit – Capability Areas to Utilise

Thinking about the challenge across business functions

Actions across functional areas will be key to navigating the crisis successfully. Considering each function, and its likely response, and then braking this down into 3 phases – React, Respond, and Recover – provides further prompts as to the sorts of tasks the organisation should be taking on at each step. The exhibit below provides a summary along these lines.

Exhibit – A Cross Function View – React, Respond and Recover

Many operating models are going to need a restart

Organisations should ask – does their post-crisis operating model stand up to scrutiny? By utilising the “menu” that an operating model framework presents – organisations can ask some basic questions about the ability of their operating model to refresh and meet the needs of a changed environment.

Exhibit – Key Operating Model Questions

Consider – what should you be doing next?

Each of these elements should be considered in a practical way – but all in all – it is clear that most organisations will need to find new ways to operate, in an environment that is unlikely to stabilise for some time.

Read the full article here.

Key Contacts

Phil Noble  /  Founder and Managing Partner

Phil Noble is the Founder and Managing Partner of SPP. He is an experienced General Manager, Consultant and Entrepreneur and has worked in a wide range of industries including financial services, telecommunications, infrastructure and Not for Profit.  Phil has...

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Clara Yates  /  Principal

Clara Yates is a Principal at SPP and works closely with organisations to tackle their major strategic challenges. Clara brings particular expertise in the Education sector having worked with Universities, VET providers, Online Education Providers, Research Institutes and education...

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By Phil Noble , Clara Yates   /