What did you do during the pandemic? Business leaders need to ask it of themselves now while the pandemic is turning our world upside down. Because that question will be asked years from now of both government and business, once the COVID-19 battle has been won. 

Reflect then Reboot

“For some organizations, near-term survival is the only agenda item. Others are peering through the fog of uncertainty, thinking about how to position themselves once the crisis has passed and things return to normal. The question is, ‘What will normal look like?’ While no one can say how long the crisis will last, what we find on the other side will not look like the normal of recent years.” 

These words were written 11 years ago, amidst the last global financial crisis, by one of Mckinsey’s former managing partners, Ian Davis. They ring true today. In this unprecedented new reality, we are witnessing a dramatic restructuring of the economic and social order in which business and society have traditionally operated.  And my first advice to business owners out there:  Set aside forecasts for now, it is time to focus on performance-based metrics. Our habit of making bold predictions related to the industry and our economy should be temporarily shelved. 

My second piece of advice is for business owners to be aggressive. When there is “blood in the streets,”  muster your resources for a major push. This is the best time to be top of mind. Despite the temporary setback (limited resources, impaired cashflow, depleted workforce, restricted mobility, and hampered cross-border transactions), business owners must think like an aggressor all over again, just like the startup/survival days. 

As you mount your attack, you should think very differently while looking for new opportunities and new markets. Reboot if your industry has been severely impacted while recalibrating with an eye on efficiency and responsiveness when your current business model has been disrupted. The key is to start doing things differently! To quote a mentor and one of Southeast Asia’s wealthiest businessmen, Philippine-based billionaire Dr. Andrew Tan, “Business was tough when I started my first company. When you don’t have much capital, it is paramount that you exercise your nose a lot, much like a dog that never ceases to sniff out for food. You cannot afford to fail and lose vital resources. That is how you develop an instinct for success.” This mindset will condition your organization to be resilient. 

What is a Strategic Plan? 

The extreme pressure to make miracles happen in such a short time will leave even the best minds with sufficient resources into a temporary pause and it’s been proven that action keeps permanent failure at bay. This is where the strategic planning process comes into play. It may be an overused term for many organizations but when owners recognize its intrinsic strength, strategic planning will certainly bring real value to an organization that takes the process seriously.

So what is strategic planning? Simply put, strategic planning determines exactly where your organization is going over the next few years and how it's going to get there. It is a coordinated and systematic way to develop a course and direction for your company. Basically, not having a strategic plan is akin to navigating unknown territory without a map. And without a map under this cloud of uncertainty, organizations will surely get lost in a highly competitive and fragmented business environment. 

The pandemic has metastasized into a burgeoning crisis for the economy and financial system. The slowdown in economic activity resulting in liquidity and solvency challenges hitting multiple industries has disrupted practically all businesses. A health crisis that has turned into a financial crisis has undermined what remains of business confidence. A rule of thumb is that if there's uncertainty on the horizon, then you need a strategic plan. And my experience facilitating strategic planning to multinationals, conglomerates, and SME’s in Asia for more than a decade demonstrates one cardinal virtue…that strategic planning is non-negotiable. 


This coming Saturday, October 24, 2020, I am encouraging readers to attend a timely and very important webinar entitled "STRATEGIC PLAN 2021: SETTING THE STAGE FOR A MAJOR COMEBACK!" where I will be a co-speaker together with one of Asia's best Strategic thought leaders, Stephen Lin. We will share our experiences and provide powerful ideas that will help business owners and senior executives plan and recalibrate for 2021! For seat reservations please call Loradel of ICON Events Asia 09173247216. Slots are limited. Thankful to this paper for supporting this webinar event.