This week’s focus: Over the past month, companies have been working round the clock to respond to the challenges of the coronavirus crisis. Where possible, they have been working out how best to keep some sort of show on the road. Otherwise, business leaders have been working with their people to put their business into ‘hibernation’, with the aim of restarting it in a few weeks’ time.

The speed and scale of the business response has been impressive. At some point soon, however, you will also need to consider your future strategy, not just your urgent daily actions. And, despite the uncertainty that surrounds the economic impact of this crisis, there are already some things that we can state with reasonable certainty.

First, there will be a recession this year in most mature economies, with a reasonable threat of a longer-term depression. The Bank of England recently reported that over 70% of UK companies are forecasting sales declines this year. Understanding how a decline in overall consumer demand is likely to impact your markets and your business over the next 12-24 months is a critical task you should be undertaking now.

Second, although globalization won’t die, it’s likely to change. The trade war between the US and China was already under way before the crisis began and there is a good chance that further protectionist measures will follow. What’s more, many of my clients had already been affected by disruption to their supply chains as a result of the lockdown in China in January and February. Taken together, this means that you will need to think through how you build greater flexibility and control into your supply chain, which may lead to more opportunities for manufacturers closer to home.

Coronavirus has led to unprecedented changes by companies in recent weeks, but its impact will be longer-lasting. What steps are you currently taking to consider the longer-term impacts of coronavirus and the implications for your strategy?

Off The Record: Something Changed by Pulp

When I woke up that morning, we had no way of knowing

That in a matter of hours we’d change the way we were going

Where would I be now if we’d never met?

Would I be singing this song to someone else instead?

I don’t know, but like you just said –

Something changed

How To Be A Strategic Leader

Books on strategy tend to be big on concepts, but short on practical approaches. This book is different!

Based on my work with some of the world’s leading companies, the 15 lessons in How To Be A Strategic Leader will give you pragmatic ideas to develop and deliver a growth-focused strategy for your business.

© Stuart Cross 2020. All rights reserved.