July 31, 2021

Preparing for a post pandemic world - The ‘Next Normal’

By Dr. Nirmal De Silva – Entrepreneur, Strategy Consultant, Associate Professor in Business & Board Director

The Covid 19 pandemic has reminded us all, albeit in an unprecedented manner that we live in a VUCA world. One can argue that the notion- ‘Survival of the most Adaptable’ is the norm rather than the exception at least in today’s context. We have got used to the term ‘New Normal’ since the mid of 2020. It now seems that the ‘Normal’ is not ‘New’ anymore and rather we need to anticipate, be prepared and strategize for what should be called the ‘Next Normal’ irrespective of the industry, size of the entity or geographic location that we conduct our business on a daily basis.

So how should we plan and be better prepared for this ‘Next Normal’? One can deduce that this is indeed the million-dollar question. In literal sense at least, it seems that this thinking is rational. Across the past few centuries there have been many Case Studies on how Companies successfully overcame the turbulent times. These stories have inspired and guided many. As brutal as it may sound, a pandemic or tough economic conditions always create new opportunities. We just need be ahead of the game to identify them faster, adapt to the market dynamics and execute our strategies with a zero-excuse policy. This is where the importance of ‘Mindset’ comes into the equation. Just imagine if everyone in our respective Organizations can think and act like Entrepreneurs! we will no doubt be better positioned to identify gaps in the marketplace, develop innovative solutions to solve complex problems and in the process continuously differentiate ourselves from the rest, in this so called ‘Next Normal’.

Exemplified below, are 6 key aspects we should focus on if we are to navigate effectively in a post pandemic world. Whilst these 6 aspects should not be treated as an exhaustive list, it maybe nevertheless helpful in your journey of moving from Survival to Growth in the ‘Next Normal’.

1.Critically Challenge your Business Model.Evaluate its robustness, flexibility and the ability adapt to the changes in the external environment. The relevance of your Critical Success Factors in the post pandemic world will be an important factor to understand and explore.

2. Review your Strategic Options & Strategic Direction Proactively.Do not commit the cardinal sin of being reactive as opposed to proactive.

3. The Financial Health Check of the Company is Imperative.Surprisingly too many Companies are still guilty of focusing only on the P&L. The Cashflow and the Balance Sheet matters the most.

4. Upskill and Reskill your Human Capital.There should be no compromise on this aspect. It is a worthwhile investment and avoid second guessing on the same

5. Use Technology or be Prepared to Perish.Explore how Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Big Data to name a few can help your business. Even the simplest technology if adopted effectively can significantly improve your workflows. In the process let’s not forget the importance of Cybersecurity.

6. Support your Customers, Stay Close to them and Build Long Term Partnerships.Whilst this sounds rather straightforward, we have seen how some Companies have suffered during the pandemic for ignoring this basic mantra. The customer behaviour has changed as a result of the pandemic and investing in research and insights is now mandatory. Use the marketing tools available including the power of digital marketing to continuously showcase your customers the value that you add to them.