Challenges for the management
of the "new normal"

Opinion article by João Moreira, CEO of Abaco Consulting, for Exame: [PT Only]

Surviving a crisis with good leadership is not just about supporting results or minimizing the economic impact on business

These are uncertain times, with internal changes, external regulations and market fluctuations. This pandemic is, like all other crises, accelerated, exhausting and disorienting. Information changes daily and decisions made one morning are out of date the next morning. In this sense, all business managers face, at this moment, very difficult choices in responding to this new “normal”.

While in a first phase, CEOs focused on the consequences of the coronavirus crisis, as well as putting in place all the necessary mechanisms for organizations to adapt to the situation and to get the most out of everything we were experiencing. It is now essential to focus on the post-pandemic. It is natural that, in times of crisis, Organization Managers focus essentially on the here and now. But, they must never lose sight of looking to the future and envisioning the path we want our organization to take from now on. Know how to foresee new changes, problems, be flexible, transparent and be prepared for possible unforeseen events.

But, for this, it is essential that he is able, in the midst of uncertainty, to point the way. To maintain tranquility and pass confidence. And teach that. What do we know and what do we not know? What can or cannot we control? Gather information, seek to share with other people and other sectors, data, points of view, ideas, actions, and put them into practice with our people.

For many companies, this new era will be quite different from what they knew. And now, the challenge is to be able to define and implement measures in order to adapt to this new reality. Evolve your business models and build solutions that not only survive, but also thrive in the new business landscape that will come.

But how do we prepare for the future, which is so uncertain? Nothing will be as it was before, and we all realize that, there are many changes that have been imposed on us, and more and more will be those that will emerge. I think the main changes, which we all need to be aware of, will be in the way companies will relate. I think we have all realized that we are equally efficient in remote mode. The fact that there is less travel (less travel time) will allow an increase in daily interactions and the pace at which we make (or receive) decisions will accelerate. I also see some pressure on delivery capacity and the need for tools to keep up with this pace. In the same vein, I think that teleworking will increase considerably and we will see a decrease in the useful work space in the offices. Security in networks and applications becomes a concern, as well as its ability to manage the traffic of large amounts of information. The tools for monitoring and monitoring health and safety at work will definitely be on the agenda, as it is necessary to react quickly if a similar situation occurs.

However, the main change will be related to our reach at the market level. The decentralized model of working and negotiating will allow our market to become effectively global, since we will do business equally with a Portuguese customer or with a customer anywhere in the world, once the digital transformation has arrived everyone at the same time.

While this whole new world seems daunting and represents a huge responsibility for CEOs, as they have to define and implement the best strategy to succeed in a post-crisis world, the good news is that we can turn the whole situation into an opportunity to improve the way we all do our business. In this new and unknown future, everything is a candidate for change: from marketing, through sales, commerce, services, solutions to support. So, why not use this occasion to proactively challenge long-standing rules and lead the way to a stronger sector that is able to offer better experiences to customers?

However, for that, it is crucial that Leaders draw some insights from this “Era” and take care not to become complacent. It is a fact that times of crisis always end up decreasing and life returns to normal – even if that “normal” seems a little different. And, therefore, at some point, as we have seen throughout history, a new crisis will probably arise unexpectedly, just as it has now. In this context, the challenge for CEOs as business leaders is to remain prepared for the next crisis, which can inevitably arise.

Surviving a crisis with good leadership is not just about supporting results or minimizing the economic impact on business. Good leadership is the transparent and truthful way we communicate, under any circumstances. It is to remain calm and confident in the future. It is knowing how to point a path, mobilize, motivate and materialize in actions every step we take to follow that path. More than reinventing ourselves, we have to rediscover ourselves and find new ways to create value for our Clients, Partners and Employees.

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