The majority of the discussions around the coronavirus pandemic has been crisis-centred communication and preparation for preventing the effects of the coronavirus with the attitude “let’s close our business temporarily and wait for the crisis to pass”. These types of reactions and thoughts will effectively make a country plunge into a recession.
Leadership topics often include resilience, the possibility and skill to see future chains of events and adapt one’s operations to them. In the past days, we have seen the recovery measures that are used in an effort to boost the Finnish economy. At the same time, we see exceptional decisions that restrict the market economy and demand. These decisions are primarily justified with safety. This equation is unsustainable for companies and crashes their business operations.
Right now, it’s important to look forward with a positive outlook and visualise how corporate bankruptcies can be avoided and identify the businesses who are coping or struggling in this situation. Decision-makers should be asking themselves daily which measures grow the vitality of business operations and enable competitiveness. Innolink is lucky enough to be serving more than 1,000 customers in various industries and the public sector. I have significantly increased the time spent discussing with our customers in the last two weeks. The shared theme has been that the demand and competitiveness of the market should be maintained in a significantly stronger manner.
Our executive team meets every day right now. In all honesty, even most of our discussions are related to the crisis. However, each day we also direct our minds to reflect on the positive opportunities brought forward by this crisis as well as those changes that will develop our operations in the future. We have already achieved quick wins through, for example, remote working, supervisors’ field management and our personnel’s self-direction. We have also identified new business opportunities and which of our already‑existing services are meaningful in this crisis. It has been amazing to see how even a small mental practice — changing your perspective — makes people see new opportunities around them. Our recipe includes efficient negotiations, change of perspective as well as balancing anticipation and action. Do not become a victim of your circumstances.
Now more than ever, companies and organisations should be interested in their customers and cherish their customer relationship. The customer experience may decline during a crisis, but there is an enormous difference between retaining the customer and losing them completely. There should be significantly more interaction, understanding and need-based discussions during this exceptional situation. What companies focused on a month ago is no longer relevant. The markets will be redistributed almost immediately after the coronavirus crisis ends. I believe that the companies who succeed in that competition are the ones who are able to make correct and quick decisions right now, who know what their customers want and adapt their operations in the most efficient manner.
Throughout history, the most flexible and resilient organisations have always succeeded. I believe that this applies now as well.
The author is Innolink’s CEO and one of the owners.
He is currently working as the remote manager in Germany.
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