The digital collaboration map is forever changed with new risks and threats. It is now about time to make an analysis of lessons learned and identify the success-factors. Because the only thing we know is that there will be another pandemic sooner or later, and we need to be prepared.
But what have we learned so far and can we make any conclusive lessons at this point?
Over the course of this pandemic crisis many operations have found themselves in lock down mode. Not only as society as a whole but even business worldwide. Many operations have been in crisis management mode as a “new normality” in various degree. This incident, this crisis, has put a lot of operations business continuity planning to the test. I can distinctively see five areas I feel you should revise and plan before next crisis knocks on the door.
These five areas are related to the need to manage cross-functional teams to perform working remote as if located together in an office. Managers need to understand that even if this crisis has put the security culture in your operation to the test it is far from all negative. This crisis has just added a level of mindset to which you need to adapt to in order to maintain “business as usual” or as usual it can get when the next crisis hits.
You staff needs to be security aware and resilient over time. This crisis has thought us that people work around the clock, or more precise – online around the clock. This affects productivity, performance and security for your infrastructure. You need to think on how to lead remote and how to maintain and encourage staff to keep “the flow”, to keep the status quo as if the team operated from the office. In the future flexibility and ability to make quick adjustments is going to be key components based on a prior planning to prevent poor performance.
Regardless of crisis we need to keep up appearance, day to day operations like normal. Communications is the key in a digital era. Coffee breaks, after work meetings and more is essential when working remote. As a manager you need to understand that in the realm of communication a fundamental thing is to communicate in order to keep the normal as normal can get. So, schedule coffee breaks, lunches and after work hang outs. This is essential for all to feel included and for the manager to pick up signs of isolation strains, depressions and more. In a quarantine or isolation, the negativity has but only one person to combat instead of you team together as a whole prior to the crisis. Maintain effectiveness for the team by communicate to them as if you all where at the office.
Just because you´re now in lock down and you work remote there is no just cause to drop major projects or priorities. If so, it reflects that you didn´t plan for this. So, start to plan now. Every project or prioritization you had prior to this is still as equally important. So, find new ways to have this project meetings, sessions to evaluate the prioritizations and maintain flow and momentum. When clear of the crisis you will have a much shorter ramp up faze to reach the “new normality” than others.
There is no way you can learn if you don’t keep records during crisis. The “war diary” (incident log) is the most essential document containing notes of decisions, incidents and more to ensure you can update policies, procedures and operations to be better prepared. Your business continuity effectiveness in the future may very well depend on the lessons you learn today. These notes can identify opportunities, improvements and which activities results in productivity. Immediately, assign someone to take notes during the crisis and meet whit the crisis managers often. The feedback gained from this document can very much make or break your business in the future.
Understand the phases
Recognize that every crisis has a lifecycle. The manager needs to be the organizations STAR during a crisis. To be able to Stop Think Ask and Report/React is crucial. To be able to take a step back and look on the crisis in a holistic perspective is of the essence to understand and recognize the phases of a crisis, where one ends, and another starts. The phases in a crisis affects the momentum and/or effectiveness of the staff. Continually asses and evaluate every decision, what was the intent of the decision and what was the effect. Adjust accordingly and repeat.
A crisis is a crisis is a crisis. They are all the same but also very different. A crucial variable in this is your employees and your leadership. As new members and leaders comes and goes the processes derived from business continuity planning and policies needs to be solid, systematic and communicated. It’s all about the communication, a crystal clear and honest communication to raise and maintain awareness and readiness for crisis yet to come.
Robert Willborg, Junglemap