Leaders Are Adapting To COVID-19

Kevin Ortzman takes a deeper look into how leaders are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 has been an unprecedented challenge for business leaders across all industries. For some, it’s created a rush that has strained their resources. Some medical facilities have had to cancel elective procedures and find ways to offer COVID testing. Retailers have dealt with runs on essential products like soap and toilet paper. Everyone has needed to find ways to sanitize their spaces more regularly. But for many leaders, the opposite has happened. Many companies have had to pivot to a socially distanced, work-from-home model.

Throughout these eight months, leaders have had to adapt on the fly. Companies have made big, sudden changes in order to comply with new public health regulations. At the same time, business leaders have kept one eye on long-term wellbeing and profitability. Through it all, they’ve also needed to communicate effectively with employees and help to lift their spirits. This is a tall order at the best of times. During this global medical crisis, it’s been especially essential for leaders to do many things well, and all at once.

Many businesses have had to search for new solutions to continue delivering the goods and services they provide. Everyone from teachers to data entry operators and church secretaries is now very familiar with tools like Zoom. Some industry-specific tools, like ClassDojo in education, have also seen a huge uptick in business. Consultants from companies like BCG have been key in helping other organizations adapt to the shifts.

Consultants have been a huge part of helping companies make it through COVID-19. They’ve helped leaders and team members learn how to use new tools and products to stay connected. In some cases, they’ve even helped businesses make pivots. For example, in some places, outdoor dining has been a viable alternative to using indoor restaurant space. Consultants have helped many chains figure out the logistics to make critical shifts.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, people have been talking about the “new normal” and returning to the way things used to be. The truth is, what’s normal has been evolving rapidly as the situation changes. COVID-19 has been an excellent reminder that any industry can turn on a dime for any reason. Leaders always need to be willing to helm the ship through choppy waters.

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