If there was ever a time for a leader to lead, this is it. Society’s velocity is increasing at an exponential rate. In such an environment, paralysis is not an option.  Action is demanded.  The unprecedented speed and magnitude of Covid-19 demands focusing on three things simultaneously: surviving, re-inventing your company, and re-imaging the future.

Like prior crises (the Great Depression, the World Wars, and 9/11), this crisis will end and there’ll be an entirely new world afterward—a world which will have huge upsides for the bold and the prepared.  In the years after 9/11 and the ensuing war, new forms of social and digital entertainment emerged (MySpace, Facebook, and online games like World of Warcraft) that helped consumers connect and play. Although the sharing economy, or originally as it was coined “collaborative consumption” can be traced several years earlier, it was during the great recession of 2008 that Uber and Airbnb were founded. These emblematic companies embodied new economic concepts, similarly, huge opportunities will follow today’s crisis.

Surviving is all about cleaning up the corporate detritus and bad habits that built-up during the longest growth cycle in the history of the US. Re-inventing what your company does or provides or how it delivers products/services to consumers will need to be rethought. And finally, re-imaging how your business will work in the future is key to long-term success. Let’s look at what’s required to handle all three tasks concurrently.

 

#1: SURVIVINGAny decision is better than no decision
Make swift and decisive decisions
  • Never put off to tomorrow tough decisions that need to be made today
Focus on cash flow, not P&L
  • Delay all outflows of cash:  everything is negotiable
  • Make fixed costs variable: use consultants, pay for performance
Fix operational gaps
  • e.g. flawless e-commerce
There is no time for PTSD
  • Anger, frustration, etc. should not play a role in your decision making.
Mantra:Cash is King

 

#2: RE-INVENTINGA crisis is a terrible thing to waste
Identify your purpose
  • Customer loyalty. Competitive differentiation. Honor that, discard all else
Deselect & Pivot
  • Every company tries to do too much
  • Re-examine those plans to repurpose your platform, the opportunity may be now
Business model innovation
  • Business models have changed forever. Trade off revenue for market share
Mantra:Slay all the sacred cows

 

#3: REIMAGINING THE FUTUREPeople don’t follow people, they follow visions
Create opportunities, don’t wait for them
  • Invest, Collaborate, Grants
Capitalize on disruption caused by digitization, democratization, & globalization
  • Invest in digital like your business depends on it.
  • How important is your physical business model?
Disperse supply chain
  • Make some closer to home
Covid-19 will create a new normal for industries with obvious winners and losers
  • Align your company with the winners.
Mantra:Focus, clarify, simplify, because “luck favors the prepared mind”

Covid-19 offers every company a once in a lifetime global reset opportunity. Difficult as it is to survive and rise above the global storm, re-inventing companies to come out winners, vibrant and dynamic, is key to thriving in a reimagined future!

 

Authors

We’d like to thank the “3 Amigos” (Mr. Hap Klopp, Dr. Carlos S. Baradello, Mr. Paul Campbell) for this creating this insightful article. To learn a bit more about all of the authors, please see below:

Mr. Hap Klopp is an experienced entrepreneur, executive, investor, and advisor on global business. He founded The North Face and was its CEO for over 20 years. Currently, he is the Executive Chairman of two global companies and a frequent lecturer at major business school in the  US and Europe. After selling the company has done business investing, consulting, and advising around the globe. Hap has an AB and MBA from Stanford University and Honorary Doctorate from Quinnipiac University.

 

Mr. Paul Campbell is an expert in corporate entrepreneurship with tenure at industry-leading companies, and has repeatedly transformed corporate innovation programs to create businesses in new markets through a deft deployment of open innovation, business accelerators, venturing, M&A, organic innovation, and business model innovation. His new businesses have generated $billions in new revenue streams in global markets in consumer electronics, video gaming, IT, and medical devices. Paul is a mentor/investor in numerous startups and accelerators in Silicon Valley and Europe, advises the World Economic Forum and European Union, lectures at major Bay Area universities, and co-founded numerous executive innovation leadership forums in Silicon Valley and Europe.

 

Dr. Carlos S. Baradello is an investor, advisor and university professor. A leading innovation and entrepreneurship practitioner, Carlos draws his understanding from his broad global business and academic experience, deep technical knowledge and understanding of the realities innovators encounter in organizations both large and small. His experience working with hundreds of entrepreneurs around the world has enabled him to gain key lessons for high-growth ventures to scale globally. Carlos holds his Electrical Engineering degree from Universidad Católica de Cordoba, Argentina; his EE M.Sc. from Eindhoven University of Technology and his PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University.

 

 

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