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Counting the cost of the Covid-19 crisis

AS we gradually countdown the lockdown period, it is also time to count the cost of the effects of the pandemic on business and what can be done to alleviate some of the impact.

Robert Mandeya

Many organisations in Zimbabwe are still struggling to deal with and to compute the impact of Covid-19, on both businesses and individuals.As the Covid-19 catastrophe struck hard a couple of weeks ago, most organisations immediately went into solution mode in overdrive, trying to deal with emerging and potential challenges, while others seem to bury their heads in the sand.

Resistance to assessment of impact

It seems like there is a resistance in many organisations to systematically assess the situation and to determine the full impact of the pandemic on the business, before going into solution design.

There are many factors contributing to this behaviour and might not be as irrational as one would think. Just one contributing factor is that many organisations do not have the means or resources to quickly and effectively assess the impact of the pandemic on their organisation.
Tools for assessing impact

There are, however, many tools and methodologies that organisations can use to help them assess the impact with great success. One such tool is the balanced scorecard (BSC).

BSC is a strategy management tool used by many organisations to:
Define and share what they are trying to accomplish;
Ensure everyone’s day-to-day actions is aligned to the strategy;
Identify gaps and prioritise projects and initiatives; and
Evaluate the progress made.

The BSC tool is an additional measure to the traditional financial measures, in order to get a more “balanced” view of the organisation’s performance across all organisational functions. It is a holistic management system which gives the organisation a means to connect the dots between various strategic components. At best, it is a business performance management tool.

In short, I would say the BSC offers four different perspectives that allow organisations to define measure and manage causal relationships. Therefore the “balance” is as a result of focusing on both financial and non-financial objectives that are attributed to the four areas of an organisation.

The four perspectives

Financial perspective, which evaluates the organisation’s financial performance and use of financial resources. The customer perspective evaluates organisational performance from the perspective of the customer whom the organisation is designed to serve.

Then there is the internal perspective, which evaluates the quality and efficiency of an organisation’s performance related to their product, services, or other key business processes.

Lastly, the organisational perspective (or learning and growth) evaluates human capital, infrastructure, technology, culture, and other capacities that are key to breakthrough performance. Organisations can use this revised model to: Perform a comprehensive, systematic impact assessment, identify potential solutions, prioritise what is most important and how to get to work.

Talent and growth

Just as the engine of growth in the Industrial Revolution was standardisation, with workers as labouring bodies confined to execute “the one best way” to get almost any task done, growth today is driven by ideas and ingenuity.

People must bring their brains to work and collaborate with each other to solve problems and accomplish work that is perpetually changing. Organisations must find, and keep finding, new ways to create value to thrive over the long-term challenges. And creating value starts with putting the talent you have to its best and highest use.

Thriving in uncertain environment

Rethinking your strategy so that it is more agile, faster and less complex will be essential for the kinds of changes we can anticipate happening as we navigate our way through this shared adversity.

While it is not news that knowledge and innovation have become vital sources of competitive advantage in nearly every industry, few managers stop to really think about the implications of this new reality — particularly when it comes to what it means for the kind of work environment that would help employees thrive and organisations to succeed.

For an organisation to truly thrive in a world where innovation can make the difference between success and failure, it is not enough to hire smart, motivated people.

Knowledgeable, skilled, well-meaning people cannot always contribute what they know at that critical moment on the job when it is needed. Sometimes this is because they fail to recognise the need for their knowledge. More often, it is because they are reluctant to stand out, be wrong, or offend the boss.
For knowledge work to flourish, the workplace must be one where people feel they are able to share their knowledge!
Remember crises provide a unique opportunity to refocus your energy and ideas.

Mandeya is a certified executive leadership coach, corporate education trainer and management consultant. — robert@lird.co.zw/ or info@lird.co.zw, Facebook: @lirdzim and Mobile/WhatsApp: +263 719 466 925

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