Are you ready to operate in a Post-Crisis market?

As we are learning, the number of infected persons in Malta are dwindling. As I right this Blog it has now been 3 days running with just 1 single COVID-19 infected person (excluding the Hal Far situation).

So is your business ready to re-open or operate in a Post-Crisis market?

The business environment that you will operate in as the quarantine restrictions are eased will be very different from what it was before the crisis began. So if you haven’t started already you need to begin preparing for it now.

To prepare your business well and in the correct manner, you need to have a long-term vision of what you aspire to become in five or even 10 years, to help shape your thinking about the short and the mid-term. It may be hard to see now, but the seeds of the next great growth industries are taking root now.

Of course, nobody has a crystal ball if such a thing existed, we wouldn’t be in this fix. But while you can’t predict what’s coming with perfect certainty, you can develop much more clarity than you might imagine about what you could and should become, create a plan to live into it, and then set it into motion. Here are some pointers to help you achieve exactly that.

  1. Spend time envisioning your future. Ideally, you should dedicate about 10 to 20 percent of your time on a weekly basis over the next few months to exploring and envisioning where you want your organisation to be when the crisis passes. This aspiration, of course, should be consistent with your longer-term vision. Given the urgent demands of the present, some of you may be tempted to delegate the responsibility for this kind of thinking to others, but it is critical that YOU as the CEO, CFO, DIRECTOR or even OWNER do this yourselves. Ask yourself what is likely to change about your customers, markets and operating environment, and what isn’t. Focus on what your customers will require, how you’ll meet their new and evolving demands, the resonance of your products and services, and your overall capabilities. Ask yourself how resilient your core businesses will be in the light of these changes. Consider both threats and opportunities and pinpoint elements in your business offering, your business model or your business operations that may no longer make sense and that will need to be changed or shut down, as well as opportunities to accelerate new growth offerings.
  2. Then Develop a Strategy to walk back your envisioned future to today. Working backwards helps you lay out a path from your long-term aspiration to the mid-term (your post-crisis focal point), and from there to today. Reverse-engineer a series of benchmarks and milestones at regular intervals along the way. The reason to start in the future and “walk” backwards is that it allows you to “clean-sheet” what you could become without being overly constrained by the way things are today and it forces you to think concretely and in terms of “pounds, shillings and pence”, which helps you decide which investments or courses of action should be given priority.
  3. Then starting thinking about the operational stuff. Ask yourself what would need to happen and by when to have your Strategy executed in the best possible way. Are all your systems, people and capacities aligned to execute the strategy correctly?
  4. Once you have all the above 3 points figured out make sure that you have a learning approach to all this. What do I mean by a learning approach? Given the rapidly changing environment that you are working in, make sure to measure, monitor, and formally review your progress. Initially, you will be working off assumptions. As you test them in the real world, you will have more data and experience to prove or disprove them. Based on what you learn, adjust both your vision and your strategy. As you work towards your mid-term and long-term goals, you must be attentive to both the strong and faint signals you receive. That requires a certain degree of humility, as you will likely have to surrender some of your certainties after they are tested against reality and fail. Speed and agility are key; you must learn quickly and be ready to then constantly adjusting. In doing so, you’ll also revisit your vision and continue to shape it.
  5. Finally, give special attention to your most precious resource – YOUR PEOPLE. Rally your team around your vision. Your people will have to make sacrifices, so you want them to believe in your view of the better future that they can achieve. Ideally, you already have a long-term vision of what you want to be which is inspiring and stable, compared to the roller coaster you are on today.

It is impossible to overestimate the gravity of the present crisis. Many of you are wrestling with existential challenges; virtually all of you will have to adopt what amounts to a wartime footing. You may feel that you simply can’t afford to carve out the time that it takes to set a vision and build a strategic path to it. But the leaders who manage the day-to-day and lead with vision will emerge from the crisis with companies that are stronger and more resilient than they were before.

At EMCS ( we specialise in what we call our “coaching” service, whereby we hand hold our clients and advise them in great detail on their operations, their most urgent strategic decisions and the needed business planning process which every businesses needs to undertake. Feel free to drop me an email on to learn more.

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