While the COVID-19 pandemic may be far from over, businesses are nevertheless trying their best to resume some semblance of new normalcy amid the ongoing and ever-changing crisis. But as accounting firms – and their clients – look to get back on track, Dr. Evans Baiya writes in a recent piece for Fast Company that they need to be very mindful of three possible recovery killers.
Bad strategy is never a good thing, but in the wake of the pandemic it can be fatal for an organization. Businesses that are surviving, Baiya notes, are those that were either prepared or those that pivoted quickly, innovated and found ways to keep delivering value for their customers – or even found a new customer base. He believes a company’s post-pandemic strategy should have three components: (1) it must be deeply founded in the purpose of the organization; (2) it must embrace agility; and (3) it must be simple and people driven. Above all, the right strategy will be based not on the desires of the company, but instead on the desires of its customers.
A second potential recovery killer is the lack of a pathway to value. Baiya writes that good ideas do not always result in profit, especially when they are neither clearly defined nor executed in the right order. He recommends the following six-stage process to discover, create, validate and sell:
- Identify the value the company should be offering right now by considering the issues that customers are facing and coming up with ideas that are contextual for the market.
- Define the value your solution will create, starting by defining the customer problem through deep and ongoing communication.
- Develop the solution, product or service based on that customer feedback to address the specific gaps they’re facing.
- Validate the solution with customers, garnering much-needed data, confidence and early-market testimonials that will allow for greater success.
- Deploy the solution to your entire target customer base.
- Scale your solution out to a wider audience – possibly in ways you hadn’t considered at the outset.
The third and final recovery killer that Baiya outlines is the mismanagement of people resources. Here he notes that during stressful economic conditions, businesses typically react either by looking inward or outward for help. The right solution, however, is to look at both, with inward examination – aided by your own employees – accounting for 70% or more of any recovery strategy.
But Baiya says leaders mismanage people resources when they believe they alone know the answers and have the solutions. Instead, it is crucial to seek help during crises and genuinely engage the organization’s largest existing intellectual, operational and emotional resource – its people. If employees are not confident about a recovery, Baiya notes, the company probably won’t recover. And getting the best out of employees means seeing them as solution generators and not just expenses. Companies that engage their employees to seek solutions will recover faster and be in a much better position than their competition because their employees go beyond the call of duty to build a better future, not only for themselves but also for the company.
Ultimately, to recover stronger during a crisis like this, Baiya says leaders must foster the deep work as an organization to update their strategy so they know they’re working on the right opportunities. It demands a structured approach to value creation – one in which customers and employees are the central focus. Because without them, after all, there is no business.