I've just heard that another company has laid off staff, but what I don't understand is that company isn't changing it's business model.
Let me explain.
Before Covid_19 business life was pretty much the same, or it had been for my life. Yes we had a number of recessions and changes, but these impacted a country or an industry but not the whole world.
I've lived through the .com bubble bursting, 9/11, Lehman's collapse and they all were horrible situations. 9/11 and Lehman's caused a global recession, but when I say that not all countries were impacted. We talked about digital transformation but nobody took it seriously.
Just before lock down Accenture invited me to a launch of some digital transformation research. They joked in the introduction of the presentation of this research that this was the 10th year they had presented it and this year. Every year they had said for ten years, that this was the year of change, but of course, nothing happened. They said that this year really, really, really was they year that people needed to digitally transform. Of course, little did they know what was heading our way.
Covid_19 a Truly Global Agent of Change
The other day (we are a global company afterall) I had a call with India, the US, the UK and Peru all in the same day. The conversation was the same "are you in lock down?", "are you opening up?", "are you having a second wave?" All countries the same.
Covid-19 has truly impacted us all and all in the same way. We are stuck at home, we cannot go out, we are working from home, work and life have merged into one.
We are used to living through our internet connection, we buy our food and it gets delivered. We don't go out for a meal, the restaurant delivers to us. I'm a great lover of the theatre and live music, we are now used to streaming this. When lock down first started in the UK, one or two theatres live streamed now everybody does. In fact, there is so much ballet, opera, theatre online it's difficult to choose as there is so much.
I'm surprised that bands and theatres haven't changed their business models and streamed concerts and charged for it. The Rolling Stones did a live "zoom", but why don't they do a concert? Metallica, live stream an old concert every Monday for a fee.
This is no different from boxing matches and a number of events, where you pay-to-view.
The fact of the matter is the coronavirus has changed the world. Are we going back to the way we were before? No. Even if there is a vaccine, which could take 2 years, the lock downs have changed the way we work and the way we live. With or without a vaccine we won't go back.
Will people really want to sit on trains and buses and commute where they are coughed and sneezed on (even if people wear masks) if they have the chance to work from home? We now know what it's like not commute and still be efficient and effective at work.
Here in the UK, sales of bicycles have doubled as people avoid public transport.
All those companies that told their staff "you have to be in the office" surely they now have to admit that working from home is good?
Let's Talk About a New Normal
People are often talking about the "new normal" but what does that really mean?
I see so many people in business talking as if nothing has changed. So while we sit on zoom calls all day, order our food off the internet to be delivered and live stream opera ... we seem to think that our companies don't need to change.
Business Reaction to Covid
The business reaction to Covid will be to lay people off, it's always the first reaction. If you can cannot see the cash coming in then the obvious thing to do is lay off staff. It looks like the business world will shrink by 15 - 20% so part of the "new normal" is to lay off 15-20 % of your staff. We are seeing company after company making these announcements.
You Have a Pre-Covd19 Company in a Covid-19 World
BUT .... and it's a big but .... you Have a Pre-Covd19 Company in a Covid-19 World!
Let me spell this out, your pre-covid business isn't fit for purpose in a Covid_19 or even a post Coronavirus world. So what you going to do? Are you really going to do nothing?
How We Communicate and How Business Has Changed
A question we often say to people is "so how do you communicate with your life partner?" The answer will be on whatsapp, or text, or facebook .... it will be social it won't be by email or by phone.
Then we ask people how they buy stuff and they will say "well I go to Google and search for what I want, I read article on social, I might ask my friends on Facebook for their advice. We might turn to online influencers."
Can you see where this is going?
So why, when the world has changed and you have certain behaviours at home as do the whole wide world, do you come to work and expect people to look at adverts, you expect people to read your spam emails or answer your cold calls?
I get the answer that they did pre-covid, but we have agreed that the world has changed. None of this, for business, adds up.
(I've often asked people they they would send a newsletter to their life partner with all the amazing things you had been up to and of course you wouldn't, so why do you trust customers differently?) Why do you treat customers like Covid19 didn't exist?
Doing The Same You Did Pre-Covid Won't Cut it
We all know the world has changed, we all know the world of business has changed and we all know this because our own behaviors have changed, accept we expect everything will carry on as it did pre-covid.
I'm really sorry to break it to you, this is going to cause your business more cash flow issues and more law offs. As we all know.
As James Cameron said
“Hope is not a strategy. Luck is not a factor. Fear is not an option.”
So Here's A Thing
How about if we replicate all the things we know are true from the way we work from home, that we are on the internet and we are living our lives on social? How about if we flip this into our business lives?
Why don't we look at a business model where we transform our business to use social, front and centre to the business?
This is what we do at home, so let's do this at work?
For the last few years, we’ve been conducting a regular change survey with our clients. In 2018, out of over 2,000 managers participating, 47% reported that in order to survive, they needed to reinvent their businesses every three years or less. Data from 2020 is still coming in, but the first 500 respondents show that the number has jumped to 58%. That should come as no surprise, given the deep interconnections that come with participating in a global economy. The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risk Report has mapped out 30 critical risks across five categories — economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological — and showed the interconnections between them. The spread of infectious disease was one of the top-10. Covid-19 (or something like it) was fully anticipated, and many other projected disruptions will likely come to pass, too.