How to turn a Crisis into an Opportunity
‘When the winds of change blow, some people build walls while others build windmills’.
We are striving to be among the windmill builders for the good of our staff, our business and the communities in which we operate. But how should you go about ensuring you meet your commitments to your team, your customers and the future of your organisation?
We’ve done some research and come up with a short list of philosophies, strategies and ideas that might help you now and when future challenges emerge. We’ve also tried to imagine how these concepts relate to our own situation and the place literally thousands of businesses find themselves in today.
We hope it gives you some inspiration – it’s certainly helped us to focus on what’s important.
Microsoft and LinkedIn were both founded under the cloud of an economic crisis and they are certainly two organisations we’re more than happy to learn from. Their leaders kept a cool head and instead of chasing shadows, looked at the uncertainty as a way to clearly define opportunity. Their clearly defined goals were vital in helping maintain focus and ensuring everyone was pulling in the same direction.
At Clydewire our leadership team quickly identified the services that would be more in demand than others over the coming months. By prioritising where resource is deployed and by being realistic about what the market wants, we are confident that we can not only survive this period, but continue to grow our customer base – a base that will benefit from an increasingly large cross section of our service offering as markets come back on stream.
Forecast, forecast, forecast
Fortune 500 companies call this technique a ‘pre-mortem’ and it’s designed to make sure their organisations are not caught out by surprise.
There are very few organisations (maybe none) who anticipated the scale and depth of the Corona Virus pandemic, but there are many for whom the impact will be drastically reduced due to their insistence on scenario planning for future emergencies and a focus on what could go wrong and how to avoid it.
Clydewire did not anticipate this scenario. Of course we didn’t. However, we did have the foresight to ensure our digital infrastructure and our processes are as robust as they possibly can be and that our business can flex and pivot to provide our customers with services and products that add real value to their propositions – in the good times and the bad.
Become a pioneer
When the UK government was faced with the scary reality of PPE shortages and a national stockpile of ventilators that was wholly insufficient, they didn’t panic. They quickly realised (mostly because we are a nation of innovators) that private enterprise might have the answers.
Companies like Dyson and Mercedes Formula 1 are successful because phrases like ‘it can’t be done’ are as far from the lips of their skilled workforces as it’s possible to be. Within a week of the Corona Virus lockdown, F1 teams had taken a standard ventilator apart, understood how it worked, suggested improvements, designed the necessary parts, manufactured them (incredibly) and deployed them in a working prototype ready, once approved, for mass fabrication, assembly and distribution.
By looking at the COVID-19 crisis as an obstacle to get over or around, it becomes manageable. Look carefully at the products and services you offer and see how they can be adapted to fill the gaps that the crisis has created. Problems are rarely immovable objects, they just require creativity and commitment to overcome.
Crises of this scale challenge everyone, but can pull people and businesses with seemingly diverse interests together when quick, effective and sustainable solutions are required.
We can again refer to the unprecedented cooperation between various F1 teams and car manufacturers. They are normally fighting it out for supremacy on the track or in the showrooms, but by cooperating they have found ways that will help ease pressure on the health services, slow the number of serious cases of the virus and potentially get the world back to work a little quicker.
Understanding how cooperation can create unexpected synergies and nurturing the relationships that grow out of necessity, can have positive long term benefits. We are certainly open – not just for business but to discuss ways that close cooperation can ensure our industry is as vibrant, or even more dynamic, after the crisis than before.
The measures governments, organisations and individuals take now will inevitably make them stronger and more resilient for future events. Dr Anthony Fauci, the embattled director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, has recently said that if, as expected, there is a second wave of the Corona virus, things will be very different.
The importance of learning was demonstrated after the Asian Debt Crisis in 1997/8. The massive financial and associated social problems they faced stood all impacted countries in good stead for the global financial crisis of 2008. Now economists agree that Asian economies, despite the turmoil of the last 20 years, are fundamentally better than they were before these disastrous events.
At Clydewire, we are learning all the time, but we already know that although our remote working protocols worked well, we can now deploy them faster, further minimising the impact to staff, productivity and business continuity. We also know how to leverage more of the power available to us via our tech stack and less redundancy means better efficiency. And we’re banking that knowledge so it’s on hand whenever we need it and for whoever needs to access it.
The world is not in a great place right now, but we will get through this difficult period. History shows us that not only will we get through it, we will come out the other side stronger, fitter and better placed to take on the challenges that we will face at some point in the future.
For a friendly chat about how Clydewire can help you make the right decision for your business give the team a call on 0141 308 1029