There is virtually no corner of the world that is not affected by COVID-19 in some way. Entire countries are shutting down and many industries have been plunged into uncertainty. While there are always factors that can cause massive changes in business practically overnight, COVID-19 is forcing change on an unprecedented scale. Adapting to these changes can be extremely challenging, but not insurmountable. In order to create a path forward both in the short-term and the long-term, you will need to lay a new foundation and answer a few important questions.
What Matters Most Right Now?
You probably had some grand plans for 2020. Maybe you were going to launch a new product or you planned to increase your sales two-fold. Whatever focus or corporate goals your company was committed to, it’s time to reevaluate. Ask yourself what is most important to your organization right now? We realize this is not an easy question to answer and while we can’t tell you what’s important to your business, we can give you some guidance.
Because figuring out what your organization needs to focus on can be difficult, it may be helpful to break the question down into both short-term and long-term needs. What’s important for your company in the next weeks and months? What’s important for your company over the next year? What is the one overarching goal that can pull your company through a challenging time if you achieve it? You may feel compelled to provide several answers, but this could be a mistake. Start with one corporate goal and devote your organization fully to it.
How Do We Shift Our Focus?
Once you’ve decided on your new focus or goal, you will need to reevaluate your planned projects. Deciding which projects should go on as planned, which ones should be shelved and which new projects you should add will be crucial. Don’t be afraid to let a project go if it isn’t aligned to your new goal. Projects don’t need to be cancelled permanently, but projects that aren’t aligned need to be put on hold for now.
In addition to reevaluating projects, they will need to be reprioritized too. Prioritizing projects is always an arduous task even in the best of times so you will need to pay special attention. There are many ways to prioritize projects, but a good place to start is by keeping it simple. Ask yourself, “Which projects are most aligned to our new focus?” and tackle the ones that are most aligned first. You can also consider quick wins vs. long-term benefits, other project dependencies and project costs among other things. If you want some great ideas about how to focus on the right projects, check out our blog post about prioritization.
How Will We Get It Done?
The way people work is changing rapidly in response to COVID-19. While some companies are being forced to shut their doors or only employ essential personnel, other companies are moving remote. Millions of employees across the world are working remotely and trying to figure out how to collaborate when separated from colleagues. To complicate the question of availability further, many workers may be taking sick time for themselves or to take care of loved ones. For workers with children, they may now be responsible for helping them through online schooling while trying to balance their own remote work.
All of these things have had an enormous impact on individual capacity. To figure out exactly what your capacity is, you will need to stay connected with your teams. Ask them how the changes have affected the amount of work they can produce. Are they having more meetings to collaborate with other remote employees? Are they taking time out of their day to help children or other loved ones? Are they struggling to be productive in a new working environment? Only honest answers to these questions can help you understand exactly what people in your organization can deliver on right now.
Putting It All Together
When you answer these three crucial questions, the path forward will start to come into focus and you can take action. You can build a realistic plan that focuses on your new priorities with the team that you have available today. While you do so, you need to remain flexible. Things are constantly evolving and you may need to continually adapt. If you are still unsure of how to move forward, we can provide tips and advice to help companies find some footing. Fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch to share suggestions on how you can start putting together a new plan.
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We can give you tips and advice to jump-start your planning.