From a strategic perspective, the decision of a company to make changes in its activities implies a forecasting process. This action aims to address any concerns during implementation as it is better to be safe than sorry.
However, the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented strain. Consequently, several organizations were forced to review their business practices and react to circumstances that no one could have imagined.
This tumultuous year has sparked a fair number of questions among many of us. Notably, how could we have been better prepared to face this wave of fortuitous organizational changes? Furthermore, is it realistic to try to plan for change based on the unforeseeable?
The simple answer
Nobody owns a crystal ball to would allow them predict events that could disrupt their upcoming business plans. However, it is not impossible to devise an action plan in the event you must deal with an imposed change. This type of prevention is reflected in the concept of crisis management. The latter is an instance in which you, Managers, must play a primary role. The way you handle this matter will directly impact the sustainability of your business beyond the current pandemic.
The Business Continuity Plan: An Action Plan for the Untimely
Being taken by surprise does not have to put a curse on your organization. Contrariwise, it gives you the opportunity to reflect on how to prepare yourself should such compelling circumstances reoccur. A model for managing such a crisis is also emphasized in a study conducted by our French neighbours. Here, we are referring to the implementation of a business continuity plan (BCP). There are five significant advantages to designing a BCP:
- Anticipate the most important hazards;
- Establish business priorities based on each activity;
- Plan for essential resources and processes, while taking into account possible losses in terms of critical resources;
- Calculate the maximum downtime that the business could withstand, and;
- Specify the role of each member of management.
During the application of your BCP, sustained communication between teams is more than fundamental to the achievement of your organizational goals. This principle is just as valid during the current period. Remember the importance of exercising your leadership role by considering the needs and perspectives of all members of your team.
Who says “change” says “uncertainty”
Finally, it is important to remember that change whether planned or not, will always come with its share of uncertainties. Being prepared for any eventuality is a good thing in itself. However, it is just as important to reinforce good practices in change management once it is in place. So, whether it is the result of organizational will or an event beyond your control, be prepared to face this change with all the tools at your disposal. And most importantly, do not fear its fallout – trust yourself!
By Kimberley Théodore-Julien, CRHA, Coordonnatrice en Ressources humaines
Editor of the HR blog – Iceberg Management