Navigating a way forward AFTER a crisis

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

The last few weeks I have discussed how leaders and their organisations handle a crisis and times of uncertainty. We looked at how they led before a crisis and during a crisis.

But what happens next? What happens after we have gone through great adversity and difficult times? How do we navigate and chart a way forward after we have weathered the storm?

First things first, I know we are currently still in a global crisis and still somewhat in the eye of the storm but I urge you to start thinking about and preparing for the new norm, because as leaders it is our responsibility to embrace the unknown and do our best to future proof our organisations. But how?

Redesign a lean organisation

Some of the things we are doing with our clients at Simple Scalable Solutions is redesigning their organisation with our 3 P's (the purpose, the people and the process) and our proven process of success which defines the why, determines the who and distinguishes the what (which is more like the how). This allows organisations to become more lean, productive, purposeful and scalable.

But the most important aspect of our proven process of success is that it also allows organisations and their leaders to identify, explain and then drive new behaviours to get to the results they want. I am a big believer in designing an organisation with behaviours and values at the core because I truly believe you can resolve organisational pain points, complexities and conflict.

But for now, let's look at ways where we can grow and scale without adding further burden and often costly expense of headcount. We will talk about how technology can help with this in a future blog. Today we are going to discuss the process of redesigning an organisation to be healthy, viable, lean and most importantly prepared for the new norm moving forward.

Reevaluate roles and responsibilities

As part of the lean redesign, we like to look at each role (not the people) in the organisation that we currently have. Of course, showing empathy and understanding the significance of the human element of ‘human resources’ is important, but it is even more critical to take the individual personalities out of the equation at this stage.

The key to creating a lean organisation is to look at each role objectively and measure the impact of having (or not having) that role in the future version of your organisation. If we want to future proof ourselves coming out of this crisis, we have to be prepared to make some tough decisions.

It is easy to assume that the process of becoming a lean productive organisation is about cutting as much fat as possible but it’s not quite as simple as that. In fact, there are many organisations that have made such drastic cuts to personnel that they may have placed themselves in a more disadvantageous position for when the new norm kicks into action.

Redefine role expectations and respect the process

It’s about adapting and adjusting to the situation and circumstances that we find ourselves in and defining realistic expectations of what the organisation should look like to best take advantage of future opportunities. We must not get stuck on what things were like before the crisis, because the sad truth is there is no going back.

Therefore it is critical to look at the roles that are absolutely required in order to be a highly productive and lean. I look for opportunities to break roles into something that are more flexible than the traditional ‘one person, one role’ type of thinking. Instead, I start to look at the ‘tasks’ or ‘set of tasks’ that are vital to the organisations’ success - I view this as someone wearing a specific ‘hat’ or ‘hats’.

As a result, it is possible for a single person to wear multiple hats and not only having a single role in the organisation. The ultimate aim is to get rid of organisational complexity, slow decision making, people and teams working in silos and leaders always having to make decisions. This can usually be found in organisations with a lot of red tape and a longer chain of command.

Remember to use data

So how do we decide on the roles (or hats) required in our future organisation? The simple answer is data. Data identifies the gaps between what the current state is and what is expected. If you have been successful in your organisation up to this point without measuring the impact of success and failure, and you have made decisions with your instincts, then you will probably find yourself in a world of pain trying to redesign your new lean organisation.

Because through data, you can objectively look at each of your departments and redefine their size and expectations based on new situations. This will become the blueprint of what the future version of your organisation looks like.

Right people, in the right roles at the right time

Next we look at the people that we have. Look at each individual and see if you have the right people for the roles that you have defined. It’s going to be tough, as you will probably find some wonderful, loyal people that suited the organisation before but now don’t fit into the new organisation structure. And you will have to make the difficult decision to let people go.

If you read my previous blog, you know how important I think it is to treat people right especially if they can no longer be a part of the organisation because they will set the tone and be the walking ambassadors for how you are perceived out there. Be careful with what you say and how you say it.

You may even find that you have some roles in your new organisation structure that no one is suitable for, and instead of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, it is in the best interest of the organisation that you fill this role with a new person that is perfect for the role. Timing is also important, ask yourself is this role absolutely required now or can this wait?

None of this is easy, and unfortunately in difficult times, it will only be those organisations that are able to make the tough decisions that will survive. In fact, there are going to be organisations that bounce out of this crisis better than how they went in. But this will only be possible if we allow ourselves to make critical decisions and adjust to the new norm without getting stuck in the past. Remember;

What do you think? What are the ways that your organisation is pulling it’s way out of this crisis?

Next week, I’ll be discussing the important role that technology plays in preparing for the future of work.

In the meantime, if you need assistance with navigating and charting a way forward, get in touch, I am more than happy to help. We are also now offering an online skills base service where you decide when or how you need me or my network of online HR professionals, business consultants, specialists and subject matter experts.

Think of us as an extension of your business, your virtual employees or simply, your dedicated team of intrapreneurs...supporting and powering your business and brand.

- Joana x

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Joana is a natural born leader, strategist, problem solver, business partner & advisor, online business coach, employee & customer experience champion, people & culture advocate, HR leader, home decor & organisation enthusiast and, serious coffee drinker 😜

Her mission is to help startups and small businesses to grow and scale by transforming their employee and customer experience into something unique, exciting and extraordinary with the ultimate aim of creating viable and profitable organisations.

Her vision is to inspire the next generation of servant and transformational leaders with her ultimate aim of changing the world one business and leader at a time - follow her quest and journey here!


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