Today, we shall be concluding our management discussion series on the topic ‘the challenge of management in a COVID 19 crisis” as we look at the management strategies and/or recommendations for leaders/managers to successfully sail through this period.
These strategies and/or recommendations are captured in the acronym “STAY SAFE”
What is that? STAY SAFE can be decoded as follows:
S – Simplify your business operations/processes
T – Take advantage of Technology
A- Adapt your products/services to meet customers’ expectations.
Y – Your team, your strength
S – Stay positive
A – Adopt effective communication strategy
F – Funds must be carefully invested. Be calculative in taking risks
E – Ensure you negotiate every aspect of the business operations to get the best and cut excesses.
SIMPLIFY YOUR BUSINESS OPERATIONS/PROCESSES
Process Simplification involves; systematically and thoroughly studying each business process, uncovering hidden sources of complexity (people, functions, procedures), and permanently eliminating them. Simplification should be driven by the need to add value to your customers, either internal or external. Prioritize by figuring out what’s really important (and what’s not), and continually reassess the priority list as new things are added. Root out the extra steps in the core processes, extraneous loops, redundancies, and opportunities to make the processes as lean as possible. Avoid unnecessary meetings, unclear assignments, unnecessary emails, over-analysis, or other bad managerial habits. Collaborate by building strong partnerships with your suppliers and service providers to tighten the supply chain areas and develop a formidable Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that will detail the seamless operations within the organisation’s system.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY
Take advantage of the remote working system. Use technology to enhance a better, faster, and efficient payment system. Employ technology in the marketing of your products and/or services, etc.
ADAPT YOUR PRODUCTS/SERVICES TO MEET CUSTOMERS’ EXPECTATIONS.
The success and/or failure of any organization’s experience in this period is dependent on the side of the divide the organization belongs to. How do customers perceive your products and/or services? You need to answer most especially the questions of what to produce, for whom to produce, and the impact of your products and/or services on the environment. It’s therefore important to evaluate your organisation’s products and/services and their impacts/contributions and acceptability by society. You need to produce and/or offer your services at affordable prices to your customers taking cognizance of the fact that most of their sources of income have been bruised as a result of the pandemic. You should be able to strike a balance between producing at affordable prices to satisfy customers’ expectations and producing quality products without causing injury to the organisation.
YOUR TEAM, YOUR STRENGTH
Keep a lean and motivated team, hire strategically and outsource what can be outsourced. Develop a better appraisal system to measure performance especially as many of the team members are working remotely, reward based on performance, and design a regular feedback mechanism to keep in touch with your team. Do not also forget to celebrate little successes along the way to keep the team motivated, committed, and happy.
Managers are meant to solve problems; managers don’t run away from problems, this is a problem which must be defeated. All you need to do is to reappraise and/or readjust your strategy to accommodate the changes. You need to stay positive because as the leader/manager, your subordinates are looking up to you as their source of strength. Therefore, you can’t afford to be de-motivated. You must be a self-motivated manager and/or leader to successfully carry your team along especially in this period.
ADOPT EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
Getting your organization to realize its full potential starts with creating a culture that encourages robust communication. Given the extended work from home and surrounding uncertainty, the right communication strategy is critical more than ever now in the times of widespread work from home. As a manager, you need to properly communicate your expectations and intentions to the team members. You need to cultivate the habit of listening (not listening to react but to respond), ask open-ended questions to elicit responses from the employees to also know their expectations and intentions (not yes or no type of question). This should also be synchronized into the organisation’s strategic moves and decision-making process.
FUNDS MUST BE CAREFULLY INVESTED
A manager must be very calculating in taking risks and investing the organisation’s funds this period. Managers need to use different financial management approaches to appraise every investment option so as to get the best. A manager must be able to take the best;
a. investment decision; striking a balance between investment risks and returns
b. financing decision; getting the favourable mix between equity and debt financing
c. dividend decision; opting for the acceptable methods to compensate owners of fund and business continuity and expansion need and
d. decision as regards profitability and liquidity.
ENSURE YOU NEGOTIATE EVERY ASPECT OF THE BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Managers should negotiate everything to get the best for the organisation. Managers can get the commitment of Investors to invest the profits of the business for sustainability and expansion purposes while compensating those investors through bonus share. Board members perks may be negotiated, meetings may be done online with the aid of technology to cut the cost of such meetings on the organisation. Employees’ emoluments, training, traveling, etc, may be negotiated. Managers can also negotiate with the organisation’s suppliers (technology suppliers, training partners, raw materials, outsourced service providers, etc) to free some funds for the continued existence of the business. Managers may adjust the organisations’ lifestyles, expenditures, and negotiate everything. These are necessary moves to keep the organisation afloat in this perilous time.
Finally, managers/leaders should strive to thrive amidst this very challenging time by;
a. Properly understanding the Business and Its Operating Model.
b. Prioritizing and developing a comprehensive risk management framework and systems, also be open to diversification.
c. Actively collaborating through the convening of regular meetings with the supply base, customer representatives, and employees for pooling of ideas and
d. Being Positive: set up a team whose sole responsibility is to champion the development of a formidable business strategy to navigate this period and position the organisation for better day’s post-COVID-19.
Above all, it is very germane for managers and leaders to “STAY SAFE”.
Join us next week as we begin another journey and looking at why your organization is experiencing a slowdown in productivity and engagement? Is it seasonal, a result of recent changes in the organization, or simply a byproduct of boredom and lack of growth opportunities for employees? Because not all decreases in productivity can be linked to a specific event.
In fact, both change and lack of it can be causes for slowdowns in workforce productivity.
However, when an organization is planning a workforce restructuring or other event that will impact a large number of employees, it is wise to put in place initiatives to address the potential losses in productivity and engagement as a result of those changes.
From next week our discussion will centre on “IMPROVING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND PRODUCTIVITY.
Sunday Ade Bello is a multi-talented, analytical and highly qualified Management Trainer, Inspired Writer, Examiner and Education Specialist. He is the CEO of WorkLife Training Professionals, Lagos. (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)