Are You Prepared for the Post-Covid B2B World?
Most manufacturers are still dealing with re-opening facilities, adjusting to the “new normal” and pivoting business tactics. It is difficult to wrap our heads around what the future may hold while still in the midst of a global pandemic.
But now is the time for B2B manufacturing leaders to re-visit, re-think and revise business strategies. The future is here with 96% of businesses already forced to make changes in go-to-market models during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The rapid adjustments made in the past few months were done to survive. Leaders must now think about the possibilities their business has for growth in the post-Covid world.
A Different Mindset Transforming the business for growth opportunities during a dramatic market upheaval requires a different mindset. An organization needs to think of possibilities instead of problems. It must cultivate a culture of creativity and agility. A positive, optimistic mindset creates growth out of crisis.
The Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) approach provides a standard process to evaluate what’s working (or not), capture learning, adjust plans and re-deploy. But when transforming business strategies for growth, the Planning phase of PDCA needs to be elevated beyond mere adjustments.
Transformation must be grounded in reality. New growth opportunities require additional support systems to be put in place. Transformation requires new tactics that can be executed within your resource constraints. Changing your mindset is just the start.
Making Transformation a Reality In my consulting practice, we use our “3C” approach to help clients explore the possibilities and develop realistic growth plans. The three C’s are:
Connect deeply with the organization and conduct a need-based assessment.
Collaborate on market trends, hold transparent and fact-based discussions throughout the organization to create realistic plans.
Communicate the plan internally and then to the market, with ongoing check-and-adjust process for continuous improvement.
Leadership must conduct a deep dive assessment of the organization – both people and processes – to uncover growth barriers and develop counter measures. All leaders talk about the need to grow. Making hard choices about which opportunities to pursue and the resources needed to make them a reality is where many organizations fail.
Not every business needs to completely overhaul its strategies. It depends on how well the portfolio and go-to-market strategies align with the altered market. But even businesses that have good alignment with today’s marketplace (graph below) still need to think through the different scenarios that may emerge and be prepared.
How Biases Inhibit Growth Leaders have a tough time stepping away from day-to-day operations to do the deep thinking and investigative work for developing growth strategies. I call it being “in” the business instead of working “on” it.
Inviting a “second pair of eyes” to participate in Gemba walks ensures that important details do not get missed. This best practice should also be applied to strategic work. Bringing in an outside perspective can help people overcome information overload and personal biases. It can help leadership get out of the weeds and take a more strategic, long-term view of their business.
All of us have unconscious biases that affect our decision-making. Our brains quickly decipher and filter information within seconds, then jump to a conclusion. Unconscious bias inhibits innovation and creative thinking because of our tendencies to lean towards the easiest and quickest solutions.
“We often seek out previous or most accessible answers, rather than integrating our existing knowledge with the unknown. This integration is where holistic and innovative solutions originate.” -- Michael Brainard, Forbes Councils Member
Using external advisors such as a CI Coach, Executive Coach, or any other trusted advisor that is not involved in the day-to-day operations, can help challenge your thinking and set the stage for innovative solutions.
Are You Thriving or Surviving? Now is the time for B2B leaders to start investigating the growth opportunities for their businesses. The seismic societal changes that occurred during the pandemic will continue into the future in some shape or form. The impact on the marketplace is both permanent and evolving. Are you prepared to GROW in a post-Covid world?