Fortune Favors the Bold

The frenetic pace of the past two months has been exhausting.  However, the early-mover advantage goes to companies that institutionalize newly tapped skills into their daily operations. Simply put, there are benefits to those companies that have fine-tuned their ability to quickly analyze new information, solicit input from key functional leaders, and make conclusive decisions. Similarly, successful companies have been and will continue to be action-oriented with an increased sense of urgency.

You may have had the opportunity to participate in Parker Avery’s Reconstructing Retail webinar series during the early stages of the 2020 pandemic. We hope you found value in them and more importantly, relevance to your own current situation. In one of the last sessions, “Beginning the Journey: Emerging from COVID-19,” we discussed several points regarding triaging your situation, planning your immediate next steps (and your mid and long-term activities), and reconstructing your business.

The latter pillar of our recommendations posed a call to action for companies to not just review but more so, take the opportunity to reimagine their business. For certain, with all that’s required just to get your doors back open, this is a daunting task. Coupled with some of the key tenets discussed in the triage and plan pillars, it presents a radical departure from the pre-COVID-19 way of working for most companies. Let’s revisit these key points and outline why embracing them is so critical for brands and retailers to regain their footing and subsequently thrive in the face of adversity.

In many cases, the circumstances uncovered the very best of organizations, and these characteristics should not be put back ‘into the drawer.’

Nobody was prepared for the gravity of the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Companies were forced into a rapid-fire assess/decide/act mode unlike any they had likely ever encountered. Yet, companies endured, and some even thrived during these turbulent times. We all hope and pray that another event of this magnitude never occurs again. But in many cases, the circumstances uncovered the very best of organizations, and these characteristics should not be put back ‘into the drawer.’ Rather, leading companies need to operationalize these skills and put them to good use as we all emerge from the pandemic.

Planning immediate actions and incorporating them with mid and long-term needs is still important. But leading companies will create an agile and flexible model that allows them to analyze new needs and prioritize them against ongoing activities, current events, and other previous plans. The days of leaving plans locked in once developed are gone, and this approach is no longer advisable. Being nimble and spinning up new efforts and/or altering in-progress initiatives, though more challenging, will separate the future winners from the losers.

While speed and an intensified sense of urgency are traits of the future leading companies, building a governance framework to ensure these necessary events are occurring on a regular and consistent basis will be another competency front-runners must demonstrate. The governance will ensure the assess/decide/act model regularly prioritizes and addresses key risks. It will also ensure key decisions are communicated to the necessary stakeholders. Without proper governance, the speed of external change and your company’s rapid reaction activities could lead to internal chaos.