Patrick Daly – Alba Consulting – From “What Now?” to “What Next?”

When a crisis occurs, whether personal, organizational or national, the initial reaction is often shock as people try to come to terms with what has happened. Often there is a sense of unreality at what has occurred. After this comes acceptance and a realism sets in whereby people ask themselves “what now?” and begin to take practical contingent and mitigating actions to pally the situation.

The process does not stop there however, because after every crisis, comes the recovery – the inevitable recovery. In anticipation of that, the mindset begins to shift from “What now?” to “What next?” and the truth is, different people, organizations and countries pass through these phases at different speeds.

While some react to the initial crisis by battening down the hatches, freezing everything and cutting back, in effect by becoming paralysed by fear, others, while not being so paralyzed enter a state of standby waiting until the dust settles before the deciding what to do next. Another group will react by looking at options to take action for the future but are hesitating to move into action and a final group has already moved into action mode having identified future opportunities

Over the last two to three weeks, I have been speaking with executives and company owners that fall into each one of these four categories. The most proactive have already shifted their focus and I am actively working with them to formulate new strategies for the future of their businesses so that they will be ready to hit the ground running when the recovery comes. Here are some of the attitudes, actions and that I am seeing among this group

  • Retain key staff by all and any means available.
  • Maintain contact and strong links with all other staff.
  • Identify future talent acquisition requirements and initiate moves to secure and acquire.
  • Train and upskill staff in the use of remote working technology and best practices.
  • Proactively offer help and assistance to customers, suppliers and sometimes even competitors.
  • Examine the impact on their business of the coming structural and normative changes in their sector.
  • Understanding that the future will not be business as usual and a realization that existing strategies will not suffice
  • Realising that there is no better time to reset strategy than now if they want to hit the ground running when the recovery comes, rather than being standing on the ground watching everyone run past them.

I understand that many of you have been through a tough time in recent weeks to get your emergency crisis plans up and running and many of you will be tired, stressed and fearful for the future. That is mush merit in that, however, now comes the time for a change of focus. You have answered the question “What Now”, the next question to be answered is “What Next?”.

In many ways, much of what is going to happen in the future is what you determine happens. There are many things that you can do now that will be successful no matter what the future conditions. It is all about seizing control rather than ceding control, and that is within your power.

“The future depends on what you do today” Mahatma Gandhi