Often, a crisis requires temporary and extraordinary changes to routine and expectations. More importantly, it is our nature as humans to default to the hopes that those changes are simply detours returning us back to the path of original normal, rather than bridges to a new one.
At first, our top Covid-19 “short and extraordinary” responses included: a labor change from office based to remote (non-touch workers), supply chain disruptions and adaptations, as well as business spaces, services, and models adapting to changes in presence, demand, and priority. We built outdoor eating spaces, cleared our clutter to make room for distancing, and we also learned to be our best versions of television talent.
Yet, somewhere along the original “three-month detour,” we lost our way back to the original normal, and the many genies left their bottles for good. Possibly, more significant than the changes to our economy, supply chain, or discussions of remote vs. office has been the collective change to our sentiment.
Covid-19 has changed US…permanently. Society’s return to our original normal is no longer possible and, moreover, it has become evident that a significant portion of our available workforce does not want it to, so our expectations for both our lives and our livelihoods must adapt accordingly. Often in this series of writings, we’ve touched upon many of these themes. Yet, whereas finding the right people during the past normal was simply a drag on the speed at which we could grow, I frequently observe in my day-to-day work (over a wide variety of industries) how widespread labor is now defining the ability of businesses to simply succeed in the new normal.
From daily interactions with both Siri and Google, I can safely believe that AI or digital automation is not a likely solution for most businesses, or for years to come. If labor is now THE major choke-point for our business to grow or, at minimum, to simply remain in business, the answers must lie in the revisions to our business models.
In addition to the labor challenges, manufacturing models must also adapt to lasting disruptions (and also to changes in sentiment) in globalization. Service based models must adapt to account for increased worker expectations, decreased availability, and the instabilities resulting from inflation/cost of transportation.
More relevant now than in the past, model revisions should prioritize the changes that allow for significant reallocation of capital (investment) in people. New models must also revisit the ratios for product offering with realistic labor, supply, or cost expectations, and contract/pivot accordingly. The new normal for our businesses to survive and thrive, is for us to prioritize a revised balance between profits and people, product offerings and people, corporate policy and people.
It matters little if our businesses require the use of hands or minds, these changes are pervasive, will be sticky for years to come, and are GLOBAL.
To be successful in completing the needed adaptations to our models, we must first revise our own expectations. It is no longer a balance between the temporary and the permanent. For our lives, we must now update our expectations of success. For our livelihoods, we must update our expectations of the values our businesses will now provide (to both our customers and our workforces).
This is not an acceptance of the necessity for less. It is an acceptance of the necessity for change.
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and committing to a Balance Driven Business keeps you at pace in this new world of business— the ever-increasing speed in which business adaptations need to occur to realign people, product, and profit. Col. Sudip Mukerjee of Reserv3 Consulting and Sean Lewis of SLC Advisory Group combine their specialties for the deep dive needed to bring your business up-to-date with the finance and people challenges of the New World, and to lay the groundwork for staying competitive well into the future.