Recovery: playing the long game

Recovery is the long game of adjusting and re-building your organisation for a new normal and beyond. As we adjust to recurring lockdowns, many of us are cycling between response and recovery thinking.

While every organisation is different, there are some things we know from past crises that will help your organisation recover. Here are five things to keep in mind as you respond to the current crisis that will help your long-term recovery.

  • 1
    Be prepared for the long haul.

    Crises always last longer and are more complex than you first think.

    As we already know, this crisis and its impacts will continue for a long time – think many months or years, rather than weeks.

    Look after yourself, your family, and your team. Watch the workload and stress levels for yourself and your team. Don’t burn yourself out.

  • 2
    Envisage the future.

    Scenarios are a good way to envisage and plan for an uncertain future. We cannot predict the future with any certainty, and planning for the unknown is difficult.

    So, look ahead for 1, 3, 6, 12, 18 months and start asking “what if…” questions. What possible and diverse scenarios exist for demand and revenue? Critical supplies or costs? Retention and availability of staff? Can you change the way you provide your product or service? Are there trigger points at which you need to make critical decisions?

    Consider what scenarios may be relevant for your business and how you could respond. Try and make decisions that leave you ready for a range of possible futures.

  • 3
    Keep recovery in mind

    Although it may seem the crisis will never end, it will.

    What can you do now to enable you to get going again quickly when we get into recovery?

    Plan ahead, discuss options with staff, suppliers, and customers. Your plan may need to change depending on future events, but it will be easier and faster to get going if you have thought about it in advance.

  • 4
    Do the right thing.

    Some actions may help in the short-term but have poor outcomes in the longer term.

    This is particularly important when it involves your organisation’s reputation, either internally among staff or externally with customers and suppliers. If you are perceived as acting selfishly or against the interests of those you depend on, it will negatively impact on goodwill and willingness to support your organisation’s recovery.

  • 5
    Keep communicating: upwards, downwards, and outwards.

    It can be easy to forget the importance of sharing and listening with those we depend on or who depend on us.

    Provide regular business updates, sharing what you know, what you are doing and planning, and what you want them to do. Ask for updates from others. Be open, honest, and listen for feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – even if it is simply asking for patience and understanding as you work through what needs to be done. If nothing has changed since your last update, say so – even that is keeping people informed.

    Good communication will grow relationships and set you up for recovery.

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