We’re all witnessing significant changes being made to adapt to Covid-19 and the socially distanced society. From major fashion houses manufacturing PPE, local pubs providing takeaways and even the lumbering NHS stepping up with video calls from GPs.
What do these different organisations have in common to create their agile response? They’ve all ditched the old rules and regulations to meet their community’s needs. They have ripped out complex systems, shortened processes and cut out unnecessary people (usually management).
In most cases these quick thinkers needed little new technology or equipment and worked with their existing suppliers. But they focussed on what their customers needed at the time they needed it.
Organisations are not static, they are constantly changing and the best ones change quickly. It used to be difficult to spot when a business process, product or service needed changing. If there’s a benefit to the Covid Crisis it’s in letting us know loudly and clearly what needs changing. Demand for some products and services are in steep decline and new wants and needs that were emerging slowly now need to be met more urgently.
Google has its ‘annual spring clean’ of all its operations. Peter Drucker recommends businesses conduct a periodic ‘management spring clean’ to review all operations and processes, asking various questions including the very basic ‘why do we do this?’ This then leads to the ‘planned abandonment’ of whatever is coming to the end of its useful life including internal rules and procedures.
In a previous article I asked leaders to consider the future role of ‘the office’ and changing it to meet the needs of home workers. Now I’m recommending you look at all your products, services, processes, policies, partners and your whole supply and distribution chain to ask what can be abandoned and what needs to change.
Major changes follow big crises and if managed correctly we could all benefit from a slashing of red tape and the departure of ‘command and control management’. In the past, business consultants took a ‘Step and Wait’ approach to change management, seeking feedback on one change before making another. We don’t have as much time for collecting and analysing big data as we once did but customer and employee surveys provide enough information along with all the market data we now have access to. We can make big changes more quickly without the ‘step and wait’ approach. We need to make changes that are bigger, bolder and deeper. Don’t ignore the essentials though – we probably also need to strengthen the financial management of a business at the same time as stripping out controls that don’t actually serve it.
In my next blog I will consider which leaders (formal and informal) will be the most effective at taking advantage of all the new opportunities.
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In the meantime, if you would like to talk about spring cleaning your business, contact email@example.com and we can look at the big bold steps you could take to rip out the old and develop new processes, products and services.