Kevin Bell

Partner, Centigo UK

Post COVID-19: Leader or Manager?

Aug 25, 2020 11:57:07 AM

Every executive running a busy organisation has, at one time or another, stared through the office window and thought “… if only I were King (or Queen) for a day and could just stop the business merry-go-round for long enough to re-shape and re-position my business it could all be so very different...” Well, probably none of us will ever be a King or a Queen. And, in any case, there is a wise old idiom we should remember which asserts that you should always “be careful what you wish for, lest it come true”. Never has this been truer than in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic. That certainly stopped the business merry-go-round for us all, in no uncertain terms. Having been on forced lock-down for several months now we have all had plenty of time to watch and reflect on the damage it has done to our industries, businesses, suppliers, customers and markets.

Now, as business leaders, we are all attempting to emerge from under the veil of COVID-19 and learn to trade in the uncertain times we call the “new normal”. To do so we are faced with making some stark, unpopular and without doubt uncomfortable decisions. These decisions will test our leadership capability to the limit, and beyond. It will separate the leaders from the managers. But this is a time for courage. And, as the timid lion in the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz[1] learned, there are three distinct components to courage. The heart to commit to the journey; the will to overcome disorganised thinking and complexity; and the need to have a bias for action.

As for the first component COVID-19 has left us without a choice of whether we have the heart to commit to the journey. We must. Because the writing is on the wall. We either commit to the journey now or be forced to leave the field of battle later as we are consumed by the pressure we will sustain from our better led and better organised competitors.

Our ability to deal with disorganised thinking and complexity will be down to a few key factors. Our combined experiences, knowledge, insights and the well tried-and-tested tools and techniques we can bring to bear on the situation. Also, our ability to challenge current norms, test new theories, create new ideas and options and from those things create new agile structures, cultures and ways of working and successfully embed them in our organisations at a speed previously unparalleled in the transformation of most businesses.

Given the heart to commit to the journey and a way to deal with disorganised thinking and complexity having a bias for action may them seem as deceptively simple as just firing the starting pistol. This could not be more untrue. This is the human factors or cultural dimension to the journey – and while many may be involved, all must be committed to the ideal of the change we need to bring about. Moreover, they must stay engaged, determined and committed for the length of the journey, however long that may be, accepting that there will undoubtedly be issues, challenges and great demands placed upon all of them as the journey progresses.

So, given the complex nature of restarting operations from a lockdown situation how can we deliver the leadership our businesses need to undertake the necessary review of the strategy, operations and assets and re-shape the organisational footprint to guarantee future trading success where the overriding theme is clearly doing more with less?

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
– Peter F Drucker

Here at Centigo, we have 300+ consultants who are highly qualified, well trained and deeply experienced across a wide range of industries that can be deployed instantly to help you put your business back to work in a safe, structured and compliant manner. While we can’t give you the heart to commit to the journey (that must come from within) we can support you with the additional skills not present in your business and the leading-edge tools and techniques you will need to make your journey a success. Members of our team have successfully helped many businesses, large and small, through this kind of process before and can bring to the table well tried and tested approaches that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. We can help you: -

• Analyse and understand your changed market environment to simplify the complexity.
• Test and re-baseline your strategy for fit, form and function against the requirements of the “new normal”
• Measure your fitness for the journey to success using our think/build/operate/sustain business model evaluation and creation toolkit.
• Develop, evaluate, test, simulate and select from a range a new Target Operating Models
• Understand the strategy, people, process, digital and technology enablers you can leverage to gain competitive advantage and address your changed needs and the needs of your customers in their changed markets.
• Help you in the short, medium- and long-term to plug capability gaps created by the new market conditions
• Support you in ramping up your business and right-sizing it for your new trajectory.
• Review your current supplier readiness/supplier management processes against best practice using well-proven, advanced diagnostic tools to identify and correct risks, issues, gaps, exclusions, points of friction, etc and deal with other upcoming important issues such as a deal or no-deal Brexit.
• Help you to create a detailed, robust “return to market” action plan and help you to put in place any corrective actions resulting from the diagnostic assessment.
• Support you and your people through the “return to market” ramp-up with any necessary procedural, process and cultural changes, tools and techniques to maintain their engagement and commitment to the process of change thereby guaranteeing the successful re-positioning of your business.
• Add value to your business after ramp-up and through to stabilisation by ensuring you have access to the necessary trained, experienced professionals who can quickly answer your questions and help de-risk your journey.

  • Business leaders reach out to and rely upon Centigo every day when they realise their changed circumstances now dictate informed, experience and authoritative thinking is required. To find out how Centigo can help you successfully return to competitiveness quickly and safely please feel free to contact us.

  • Contact Kevin Bell
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[1] The Wonderful Wizard of Oz a children’s novel by L Frank Baum, published 1900

Tags: Business_Wellness Centigo_UK COVID-19 leadership