Top 10 CEO learnings
CEO’s Blog | Patrick Katenkamp
The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to challenge organizations of all sizes and leaders at all levels. As we all continue to navigate the impact of this crisis and make significant efforts to adjust to the ‘new normal’, it is important to look back and reflect on what this crisis has taught us.
Here are my top 10 CEO Learnings:
1. Revisiting your Business Continuity Plan on a frequent basis is a necessity.
You must transform your BCP into a living project. Revisit the related strategy and make sure the framework, processes, and elements of the plan evolve together with your organization.
2. Rapid decision making is more important now than ever.
Managing the COVID-19 crisis involves making tough decisions in an environment filled with threat, urgency, and uncertainty. The situation calls for rapid decision making across the entire leadership team. What we have learned is that there are occasions when plans must change immediately; actions must be taken at the speed of light. Decentralized decision making should also be part of your fast response plan.
3. Transparency is required. Emphasize it.
Of course it is easier said than done, but when an epidemic like COVID-19 arises, managers must be able to react quickly and transparently about what decisions the company is making to address the issue.
4. Keep your spirits high. Spread positivity.
I’m typically an optimist and encourage positive thinking in all aspects of my life. But, in the kind of crisis we’re experiencing now, it will take more than positive thinking to pull through and emerge stronger. It’s tough to feel secure when everything is out of your control – and it’s easy to let negative thoughts and feelings overwhelm you during times of great stress. However, this is not an option for a business leader. Having a response plan in place is crucial but maintaining our positivity so we can pass it along to others can often be our best response.
5. Employee performance is not related to location, distance, or time zone difference.
During COVID-19, we have witnessed our employee’s commitment and dedication to supporting the business while navigating the incredible impact of the virus. We have come to realize that people do not need to be at the office in order to perform. As with any job, what our employees require most are the right tools – with that, miracles can happen. We have seen many incredible ideas come up during virtual meetings – taking place thousands of miles apart and across multiple time zones. The collaboration through virtual means has been inspiring and I believe leaders will become much more flexible on remote working plans in the future.
6. Accelerate digital transformation in your business now.
COVID-19 is forcing digital transformation. This is a given. The sudden change brought on by the pandemic has forced companies to consider digital transformation much sooner than originally planned. COVID-19 has clearly showcased the value of IT and digital technologies. Businesses that are able to shift technological capacity and investments to digital platforms will mitigate the impact of the outbreak and keep their companies running smoothly both now and in the future.
7. Never underestimate the enemy.
At the beginning of this crisis, many business leaders, including myself, underestimated the impact that COVID-19 would have. Many did not even believe it would end up being a pandemic. Well, we were proved wrong. Today, COVID-19 is testing our abilities to the limit and serves as a daily reminder never to underestimate the challenges we face.
8. Never stop learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to improve our businesses in areas that we may not have otherwise thought to. From digital technologies to remote working and even sanitary office practices, we have all had to learn many new things over the past few weeks. This has served as a reminder to continue learning and seeking knowledge. Never stop learning and pass that knowledge on to your colleagues. Use it to improve your daily life and the lives of others.
9. There is opportunity in every crisis.
Albert Einstein said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” So, where is the opportunity here? For every company, the answer will be different. For the automotive industry, this crisis will accelerate innovations like virtual test drives, online sales, EVs, etc., that would normally have taken five to ten more years to arrive. Find your opportunity and secure your future.
10. Prepare for the post-crisis period. Things will not be the same.
As we prepare to return to business-as-usual, we need to remember that things will be different. We will be different. Our businesses will be different. And although things might not look quite the same, we will be stronger than ever. Begin planning now how your business model will change, evolve, or totally reshape. Think about how your products or services need to be enhanced to provide maximum value for your company and your customers.