As we slowly emerge to see what is left after the deadliest pandemic in a century has devastated lives and businesses across the world, many are asking what we should begin to focus on.
Step 1: Assess if the strategy you had in place before COVID-19 is still appropriate
The one thing the pandemic has highlighted was a distinct lack of humanity by many businesses. Some stood out for doing good, but most did not do a great job of looking after their stakeholders when it mattered the most. Make no mistake, good or bad, businesses will be remembered for their actions when the world returns to “normal”.
As a leader, if you feel your business could have done better, consider reviewing your strategy by applying the tenets of Conscious Capitalism (https://www.consciouscapitalism.org/). This will assist in moving your business from a purely profit-oriented culture to that of a “Conscious Business” which contributes positively to all its key stakeholders including customers, staff, investors, suppliers, communities, and the environment. Conscious Capitalism goes further to suggest that any strategy which fails one of these stakeholders, means that the business is possibly missing its “higher purpose” and it needs to find a way to address the imbalance, otherwise it will ultimately fail.
When a business considers all its stakeholders, it can define more meaningful business objectives that everyone in the stakeholder group can support. Examples of “Conscious Businesses” include Whole Foods Market, Southwest Airlines, Costco, Google, The Container Store and Tata.
Step 2: Make sure the projects you select support your strategy
This is a key element to success and makes sure you do not waste money by chasing the wrong things. Every organisation has projects to introduce new products or services or improve on existing offerings. Every project uses resources including people, equipment, and money. It makes sense then that if you select the wrong projects to execute, you will be wasting resources.
Assess each project as to how it supports the business objectives. Implement a simple scoring mechanism to rank each project against the business objectives. The projects which have the highest scores are the projects to focus resources on. Once the resources have been allocated to the highest scoring projects, projects with lower scores must wait their turn until resources become available.
Step 3: Manage the projects you select properly
To be successful, projects should be managed by people with the relevant training and experience in the tools and techniques required. Assigning an untrained person to manage a project is often a recipe for disaster and normally ends up costing the business far more than a professional would cost.
Step 4: Implement objective and easily understood reporting to track projects
There is a wealth of tools available to keep track of all the projects in the business to make sure your resources are being well used, and to highlight issues as soon as they occur. A very popular choice is Microsoft Project Online (available on Office 365) as many project managers have experience with the tool and its related systems or Sciforma (www.sciforma.co.za) which is a specialist system for more advanced environments.
These relatively easy steps will help your organisation evolve into a Conscious Business you will be proud of, and all the projects you undertake will support that strategy.