Keys to a COVID-19 Recovery Strategy

October 8, 2021

Like most people, I'm still confused of where we are in the pandemic:

  • Do we think we've reached the end of this?
  • Are we in the midst of a tough patch?
  • Is there going to be a major plot twist that sends us back to the beginning?

I'm not certain.

What I do know is that this period of time meets the criteria of a "VUCA" environment, as many strategists refer to it:

  • Volatile
  • Uncertain
  • Complex
  • Ambiguous

And, for me, helping my clients think through how to deal with this moment has taken my mind off where we are in the recovery or pandemic response stages, hopefully for the better.

After all of this thinking over the last six months, I've come up with a few suggestions for managing your strategy in this VUCA environment:

Don't be afraid of making a decision

  • We should all be willing to embrace the options that are open to us now more than ever.
  • We keep hearing about "The Great Resignation," which is a reflection of people making decisions about their lives, professions, and priorities.

Our findings suggest that people's attitudes toward value have shifted. Their desires have shifted. What they are willing to put their time, money, and attention towards has shifted dramatically.

It is critical that you consider this in the context of you and your company as you plan your business. It's a risky bet to assume that the things that were certain before the pandemic began will remain so.

This means you must value choice and be willing to have the fortitude to make a different decision if the world around you requires it.

Understand your role

As a business, you have only two options for positioning:

  • In comparison to the competition
  • About yourself and your company

The problem is that too many businesses try to accomplish both and wind up trapped in the middle of nowhere with no sales.

It's critical to understand why people will choose to work with you over your competitors when we enter a stage of recovery where the concept of "normal" or "new normal" is being bandied around with no context and no basis in reality.

"Not standing out is the dangerous path," Louis Grenier warns in his seminar on "radical differentiation."

As a result, we must all comprehend why people would choose us and what this means for how we position ourselves in the market.

Consider the following scenario

It might be about service, with you saying things like "our service is excellent" or "you won't have to deal with poor service." The first is about you, while the second is about your rivals.
Recognize it and deal with it.

Be adaptable

Strategic decisions should not be tethered to you for the rest of your life, even in the best of circumstances. The reality is that all plans eventually fail, and it is your responsibility to recognize that you will need to adapt your strategy on a regular basis depending on fresh research, market conditions, or value creation.

These inflection points occur considerably more quickly, routinely, and dramatically in a VUCA context.

This means that we must all be aware of the need to keep an eye on our surroundings for signs of change, new ideas and opportunities, or new possibilities.

One of the important concepts I attempt to instill in my strategy work is that the greatest way to be flexible in your strategies is to recognize the options so that you may choose the one that will offer you the best chance of success.

In normal times, that would be wise. I'd say that I'm even smarter now.

Thanks to Dave Wakeman at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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