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Seven steps to get through the corona crisis

Some companies have gone bankrupt in less than a month. Others face challenges that may require a new business model. The coronavirus has gone from being a Chinese challenge affecting the world’s supply chains to a sledgehammer hitting the global economy hard.

Therefore, it is necessary for companies to focus on value creation more than ever before. The company owner, the board of directors and the CEO will most likely agree on that. But how exactly do you do that? We have gathered our experience from previous crises and from our close collaboration with the top of the Danish business community. Here are seven steps for you as a top manager.

1. Gather the team

When a crisis hits, no one is strong alone. Therefore, it is a good idea to gather a governing coalition that frequently – preferably every day – share how it experiences the situation. In a state of emergency, it is more important than ever to have a common outlook, so that you are able to make crucial decisions quickly – and on an insufficient basis for decision.

2. Make sense of the new situation

In a crisis like this, you can easily be overwhelmed by the circumstances. The organisational transformation cannot keep up with the corona shock. Some industries struggle more than others.

When business conditions change in a very short time, it is imperative that you are clear about the priorities. What is the most important things to focus on now? State a purpose as well as a short-term focus.

The most important short-term action is to create a common organisational awareness of the fact that the conditions have changed, and that the organisation needs to reorient – at least for a while.

3. Get rid of doubt and uncertainty

Make decisions in order to eliminate immediate doubts and uncertainties. This will require significant and quick decisions. Doubt and uncertainty can directly cause apathy, stagnation and hesitation in your organisation. Therefore, it is essential that you do everything in your power to get rid of – or at least reduce – those feelings among your employees.

4. Lead the way

Crises always have a face. And the answer to a crisis has a face too. Your organisation expects you to be the face of the solution by being at the forefront and making all necessary decisions.  You and your views must be seen and felt throughout the organisation. Use all platforms – e-mails, Yammer, Slack, video, Twitter, etc. – to be sure to reach out to all your employees.

5. Give perspective

At the beginning of the crisis, most people usually have a short-term and action-oriented perspective. At some point, there will be questions regarding ‘what to do after the crisis…?’ and you must proactively communicate the long-term perspective before it is requested.

6. Keep calm

Regardless of the turbulence, you must keep calm and see the big picture in order to have the right dialogues, make the right decisions and communicate clearly. It will strengthen the employees’ belief in the company – also in the long-term.

7. Make room for smiles

Despite the severity of the crisis, we all need a smile – even when there is nothing to laugh at. This can be ensured by staging small cultural initiatives like continued celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries, community singing and virtual common breakfasts. It is important to ensure a sense of community and cohesion even though you are not physically together.