We are experiencing the most unprecedented and unforgettable times of our lives. It is said that dreams should be lived and life is meant to be explored. Each moment has something to learn from. And this unique time of pandemic will leave us with many lessons in life and management. The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in the business world. Business leaders are adapting to operate in an ever-evolving landscape where the only certainty is change. Are there any lessons to be learned from all this?
If recent experiences have taught us anything it is that a spirit of resilience and the ability to adapt are keys to operating in the new normal.
Badr El Battahi says some businesses are taking the opportunity to adopt new technologies and learn new skills. They are reflecting on their ability to adjust to new norms, to consider how to better meet customer needs, and even reevaluate how they do business. To say a lot has changed in more than three months since the COVID-19 pandemic started to affect No one hands you a playbook detailing how to respond in a crisis. In a crisis, you lead best when you anticipate what can go wrong, expect problems to occur, presume others will let you down, verify supposed facts, respond to everything in a timely manner and then put a plan in place accordingly. As we start to settle into a new normal, whatever that may be, it’s a good time to look at the lessons learned from leading during a crisis.
Lessons from the past
History teaches us a lot. We had something to learn from each of the past calamities whether it was the world wars, depressions, or the Spanish Flu. Similarly, a new entrepreneur needs to understand and learn from how businesses fail and how some novel idea becomes a thundering success. Here, the example of South Korea would be relevant. Since they had the experience from the past of a different strain of Corona Virus they were extremely proactive this time around and were already prepared with a map of contact tracing through an application with which they could contact the affected people. So past experiences can teach entrepreneurs how what failed in the past should be guarded against and what worked can be incorporated.
Core values matter.
Core values define how a business and its employees operate, and good ones can help you persevere during hard times. For example, at Penn Station, we have a top to bottom ownership mentality throughout the system. This meant we had general managers working longer hours with less crew—often for many days in a row—because they felt ownership in the restaurant and invested in its success.
Change is constant
We constantly hear that Change is Constant. Change is not just constant but also transformational and needs to be accepted. About a month back nobody had imagined the drastic change we would be facing in such a short time, that our fast lives would come to a standstill and yet we will accept it, without a word of resentment, for our own safety. Organisations have a lot to learn from this. An organisation’s research and development and the task force have to constantly be working on ‘what if’ which refers to the unseen eventualities. Those who resented even the smallest change have accepted this drastic change staring at us.
Cash is king.
Stating the obvious, in addition to driving sales during the pandemic, it was imperative for businesses to create opportunities to drive cash flow. This crisis intimately reminded us that businesses that are highly leveraged have a much greater risk of failure. We viewed our profit and loss statement from 30,000 feet and said if we do not need the expense to keep the door open, we should consider eliminating it completely and permanently. As things begin to return to normal, businesses should continue to seek opportunities to drive cash flow, and as importantly, not simply maintain, but enhance the integrity of the brand and its products or services in the long term.
Important money lessons you can learn from COVID-19 pandemic:
Having an emergency fund is a necessity:
People often do not have a contingency fund or emergency fund. However, this pandemic has taught us that having an emergency fund in place is non-negotiable.
One source of income is not enough:
Have you ever wondered why millionaires, billionaires have multiple sources of income? It is because life is unpredictable and having multiple sources ensures that in times of a crisis, you will have options to rely on. People who depend completely on one job for income often struggle financially when they lose their job amid a crisis like the one present right now.
Leaders should take these lessons and look at what they have learned specifically about their business in the last three months. Many of these lessons and tactics will continue to be important for the rest of the year and beyond