By: Peter Ryding
10th March 2020
Peter Ryding, award winning turnaround CEO, mentor to CEOs and founder of VicYourCoach.com explains why every business needs a ‘Corona Crisis Management Team’ and the importance of employee engagement and HR directors at this time:
1) Boris has a Cobra Team and every business needs a Corona Crisis Management Team that should meet virtually if not face or face every day. Get your HR Director heavily involved in your Corona Crisis Management Team. It needs to be their number one priority until its over. They know your people better than anyone. They know the employment laws. They get Employee Engagement and how to communicate and how to retain trust through tough times.
The HR Director should be asking the following key questions through the CCMT meetings over the coming weeks and months…
- Is it safe to let management travel, attend large gatherings outside the business at all? (I know 6 CEOs who have already been told by their board to cancel any such plans.)
- Challenging the board with questions like “In 12 months time as our staff look back at how we handled them and the crisis - what do we want them to say? And are our current plans compatible with that?”
- Will your reputation with employees, future employees, customers and suppliers be stronger in the future such that, net, you end up ahead of competition? Or lagging behind?
- You must identify SPOFs (Single Points Of Failures) which are critical people, machines or systems that the business relies on. You must have a business continuity plan to deal with their potential failure as a result of Coronavrius. These business continuity plans must also include situations with a 20% infected population – employees, customers and suppliers. For example, most IT plans include relocating staff when the computer center can’t operate. However, what happens if your DBAs (Data Base Analysts) are all sick? And if you don’t know why this is critical – find out fast! Plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for a bit better!
- In a real crisis can you trust your people to do the right thing whatever that might be? If not, why not? It’s never too late to start building more trust. You need their guidance early because only they know how things really work. Don't think everyone actually follows the manual. Involve your people at the coalface – they know how things really get done.
- Staff will expect regular updates from you at the top.
2) The Corona team should make sure they know the company’s daily breakeven number and be able to scenario plan for any change or revenue loss as a result of these scenarios.
3) The Cobra team needs to look at its own risk analysis using the 9-box grid. This grid plots the likelihood of an event up the side and impact along the bottom. Managers must plot all key risks, reduce the likelihood where they can and make plans to mitigate the impact if it happens. This may change on a daily basis.
4) Don’t assume that outsourced service providers are resilient to Coronavirus – check it – get evidence! Not promises.
5) Know your DAILY profit and cash break evens and project them forwards. These are much neglected KPIs although in a crisis not knowing them could kill your business. Cash is king. Lack of cash is bankruptcy!
6) Collect cash assertively. This is NOT the time to give customers (who may go bust) extra credit beyond their contract. Don’t believe the sob stories. Collect cash as it is due and chase for it. The longer the cash is overdue the less likely it is that you will ever receive it.
7) Be an inspiring leader. Be strong, yet humble enough to say you don’t have all the answers. Be calm, measured and honest. Treat them with trust and integrity and they will repay you with trust both now and, more importantly, in the future after the crisis is done.