It’s safe to say that no one was prepared for Covid-19. In a few short weeks the world’s economy was brought to its knees as the pandemic spread across the globe, forcing strict business and health regulations, as well as government-enforced lockdowns.

Many leaders are familiar with the phrase ‘living in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world’, but even the most cautious and prepared strategic mind would’ve struggled to plan for what unfolded. Now, the question that everyone is asking is: How do we formulate new plans in an uncertain time?

Emerging from the crisis, the economy and business require a reimagining of traditional business models, innovation and sustainable business. Here are the biggest thought-starters for business and leaders:

The future of work

It’s often in the face of adversity that you see people’s true strength and character shine through – and this has been exceptionally true in 2020. Before the crisis many organisations rejected the concept of remote working, believing there’d be significant challenges to implementing it successfully. With no choice but to work from home, it became the new norm for businesses around the world. The global workforce embraced the rapid change and adapted, delivering results from the comfort of their own homes and showcasing a new way forward.

It’s given businesses something to ponder, especially in terms of lease renewals and office space. If employees can be productive and empowered working from home, it opens up numerous cost-saving opportunities – both in the short term and long term.

Structural reforms

South Africa finds itself in the throes of change. Even before Covid-19 there were numerous policies – such as National Health Insurance, land reforms, energy solutions and black economic empowerment – on the agenda and at the forefront of discussions. The lack of clarity about implementation, however, creates uncertainty for all the invested parties.

Going forward, it’s crucial that a unified approach is implemented to achieve the desired outcomes. There must be a balance between structural reforms and the needs of the labour market and business, but decisive action is also required.

To build a better South Africa for all, clarity of plans and strategies is both urgent and essential, as it’ll help dispel several myths while instilling confidence in the stakeholders. If you’d like to read more about this topic, please click here.

Sustainable development

Turbulent times offer a unique opportunity: A time to reflect about what’s important to us. As businesses and individuals, we need to consider how our actions (or lack thereof) impact our ecosystems.

Sustainability is about improving the quality of the economy. It’s about getting our priorities right and creating a better environment and tomorrow. This ‘new normal’ affords us a moment to consider how our businesses impact the environment, and what we can do to become eco-friendlier. Whether it’s a tiny or massive change, every step towards a greener business makes a difference.

Relooking current strategies and adapting

While most businesses do their best to be flexible, it’ll become paramount to interrogate the current strategies and ensure they’re agile and adaptable for the future. Most importantly, these strategies can’t be integrated in isolation or silos – they require the input of multiple stakeholders.

It’s necessary to bring together people who have significantly different organisational roles, points of view and experiences, and to ask them to challenge your current models and processes. This allows for more robust discussions and exposes blind spots.

Ultimately, to have an effective conversation about strategy, you need to apply the three Ps, which author and business leader Kees van der Heijden encourages: the power to perceive, the power to think, and the power to act.

History on our side

Looking at the news headlines, it’s easy to feel bleak and despair about everything that’s going on; Covid-19 has impacted and changed the world forever.

However, this isn’t the first disaster that society has faced. From financial crises to natural disasters and pandemics, many events have rocked us throughout the ages.

Each time, though, we’ve managed to overcome the odds and rebuild – often better than before. History has shown us that trying times are only temporary and we will ultimately prevail and emerge from this crisis together.

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