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Pandemic: The Black Swan event driving business transformation

Pandemic: The Black Swan event driving business transformation

Pandemic: The Black Swan event driving business transformation

The current global pandemic has been heralded as a Black Swan event by strategists that is driving agile businesses forward and others with rigid structures to carefully reassess their raison d’etre or possibly face extinction. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of ‘The Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable’ uses the term to describe an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight – which is an apt analysation of the crisis we are all facing. It is also coming to light through the various national government support schemes, here in the UK and Worldwide, that the beating heart of the economy is the small and medium businesses such as us at College and County; and this sector continues to suffer a devastating and prolonged impact. However, this challenge also presents itself as an opportunity to those looking to sustain and grow once the world comes out of the COVID-19 storm.

Relationships are key

The pandemic has unleashed a wave of uncertainty amongst people. The fear of the unknown is making us all feel vulnerable whether it be your customers, employees, contractors or stakeholders. Joe Galvin, chief research officer for Vistage, a peer mentoring membership organisation for businesses worldwide, says loyalty in your business relationships will be key in this paradigm shift. Admittedly everyone is braving this storm together, but the business which acknowledges that each of its relationships will be having a different experience while doing so is more likely to survive it. If you fail to offer honesty and empathy; and continue to focus of profitability, he cautions that, people that work for you and the people that use your service today will remember and may choose to disassociate themselves, because memories are long and crises are short.

Agile workforce structure

All businesses of various shapes and sizes, were forced to transition into a working methodology that could still deliver service to its customer. ‘Working from home’ has indeed become more commonplace now than ever before and Online Learning the new norm in continued schooling. “While the ability to work from home is a benefit many employees value, many companies lack the technology infrastructure structure to offer that capability without some sacrifices to "business as usual" says Bernard Marr, a Contributor to Enterprise Tech at Forbes. This is more so in small and medium enterprises without deep pockets to spend on digital transformation or those with a rigid belief of having high street presence being essential to their business model. The opportunity here is to mainstream remote working without compromising on service delivery and balance it with the spend on the digital tools to help achieve this.

Adaptable operating model

Has being out of sight meant being out of mind for your customers, stakeholders or your boss? If it has, it is time to thoroughly reassess the values of your business and indeed your role in the ecosystem. However, if it hasn’t it means that your employees are juggling all the plates of deadlines, responsibilities, family duties effectively. At College and County, we have embraced the tools available to stay connected with colleagues and customers frequently and effectively. In addition, the management structure of your business might even become more trusting, believing in the ability of their employees to do the right thing without constant monitoring and supervision. When this crisis recedes, many small and medium businesses will find that they can be highly efficient - and cost effective - with distributed teams. Investments in office perks might even be reallocated to be shared between salaries and the business bottom line.

How has the pandemic affected your business? Leave us a comment or email us to discuss anonymously if you prefer. Our collective experience will only help us all transform to cope with the changed world and its new working order.