By Bill Yeargin
These are extremely stressful times for business leaders. We are all wondering what we should be doing during this period of uncertainty. There is no playbook to read; we are writing it.
With the many challenges leaders are currently experiencing, it may seem too early to be thinking about reopening your closed (or soon to be closed business.) However, if you are not currently developing a reopening strategy, you are putting your business at a significant disadvantage and losing an opportunity for your business to excel in the upcoming decade.
When I assumed my current CEO role, our company was in a mess. I was the fifth CEO in five years, and much was broken. The first couple years in my new role were spent putting out fires, trying to develop a long-term strategy and navigating a company ownership change. Then, just when things seemed to be on track, literally on my second anniversary, the bottom of the economy fell out and we entered the Great Recession.
The Great Recession was excruciatingly difficult on our company but at the same time it helped us create a foundation that resulted in a decade of record-breaking results. This foundation was laid because we were able to make several years’ worth of changes in a matter of weeks, not years.
Leaders should view COVID-19 as an opportunity for a significant reset of your business. This is a rare opportunity to restructure your businesses in a way that your team will benefit from for the next decade. Specifically, think about what you could do to change your business for the better and do that during this time. You need to be sure that when you re-open your business it has processes and a cost structure that produces better results than before your shutdown. This is particularly important if you reopen at a production rate less than the rate you closed.
For instance, are there things you stopped doing during the shutdown that you do not need to restart? Or, can you reduce the number of resources needed for a particular job or function? Are there processes that would be tough to change in normal times that might be easy to change now? Make sure you reopen your business in better shape than you shut it down.
While this is a horrible health crisis that I don’t want to minimize in any way, our current situation also presents leaders an opportunity unlike any they may ever get again. This is an opportunity to make changes that will ensure your organization’s health for a long time.
Changes take energy and courage, but the current situation is an opportunity to make your business better, much better. If you do, your employees and company will benefit from it for the next decade. In a few months we will be able to judge how well we all did at the “reset,” so now is the time to act.
We learn a lot about ourselves and each other in times like we are now experiencing, and it takes an exceptional leader to not only recognize and grow from what they are learning, but to also look for opportunities to improve in the crisis.
Bill Yeargin is president and CEO of Correct Craft
Bill, very good insight.