Internationally ongoing studies into the effects of the Covid-19 crisis point to acute challenges facing boards of directors and owners. Frequently mentioned topics are:
- impact on business results
- risk of global recession
- movements in personnel
- drop in productivity
- decline in consumer confidence and consumption
- supply chain changes
How does that translate into new management challenges? The focus will be on the strictest health and safety conditions of the products and services and how to communicate these clearly to customers. The health of employees is also important. As soon as they return to work after the blockade, this will have to take place in an absolutely safe environment.
Starting up the activities requires a sophisticated plan of action. Existing principles are no longer self-evident. Supply will have to move throughout the chain, but not faster than the pace of recovery. The competitive position of the company will not be allowed to deteriorate compared to the position before the lockdown.
ICT had to make enormous efforts during the lockdown, for example just to facilitate the sudden switch to remote work. What remains of that? Think of cyber security, but also the increasing data load on the IT infrastructure. From a financial point of view, the available working capital must be used optimally to absorb the shocks of the crisis and recovery.
Above all, the preservation of value creation is important. Will the existing business model from before the lockdown still work? Do we need to design and implement radically new business?
In this difficult context, uncertainty seems to be the only sure thing. It requires specialist knowledge in many policy areas. In short: make way for the interim CCO – the Chief Covid Officer.
What does this interim Chief Covid Officer look like? Think of the change manager as we know him, with extra experience in reorganization and crisis management. A manager who is able to structure the organization, processes and tools and communicate this to strategic decision makers. Someone with strong leadership qualities and interpersonal skills who can lead change. A man or woman with the capacity to enter the operational field. Someone with leadership and charisma. Stress resistant and the ability to make decisions quickly. And depending on the current situation of the company also substantive knowledge of project organization, innovation, HRM, finance, IT & ICT, quality, marketing & sales and branding.