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The three Rs: A business consultant's tips on getting back on your feet and coming out of the crisis stronger

Brian Cremin of 3SIXTY consultancy says it’s important that businesses examine all aspects of how they work and adapt fast to meet the new changes.

Brian Cremin

WE NEVER IMAGINED something like this would happen. We work with businesses of all shapes and sizes and never once did we have a conversation about planning for a global pandemic. And yet here we are.

For the last number of months, surviving Covid-19 and getting back to some sort of commercially viable new normality has been the only discussion in town. While tomorrow marks a new phase of economic life in Ireland with a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions, permanent (or, at the very least, long-lasting) changes to the way businesses operate, engage with customers and employees are now a generally accepted fact among business leaders in this ‘New Norm’.    

And this New Norm applies to all businesses. Covid-19 has been quite the equal opportunities crisis. From global multinationals to indigenous SMEs, every business has been impacted.

The scale of the impact might be different but the net result is the same; how do I get back to operational business-as-usual as quickly and efficiently as possible, while following all appropriate guidelines and ensuring our people are engaged and motivated?   

Look at how you do business

We run 3SIXTY business consultancy and we work with companies to help improve performance by ensuring their processes are as efficient as possible and their people are as effective as possible. Over the last few months, we have focussed a lot of time and effort on thinking about the practical steps businesses need to take to get back to a viable level of operation, and, in time, return to growth.

This New Norm needs to be about more than simply viability. Businesses need to see a clear path back to profitable growth, not just “keeping the lights on”. 

The first thing we did was to think about our own business. In a very practical and bite-sized way, we worked through all of the areas in which we would need to do things differently for our own staff and clients.

We thought about areas including remote working, communication, performance development and culture. We thought about the processes underpinning these areas, where the gaps are and what we needed to do to fill those gaps. We then took this working model to some of our clients. As we work with businesses from a diverse range of sectors, we were able to get a really powerful cross-section of thoughts on exactly what businesses wanted.  

From speaking with these clients, it was clear there was a need for real, practical support on how to get the “doors open” in a way which is commercially viable.

The keyword which we heard repeatedly was “practical”. Businesses don’t need high-level advice right now. What is needed is practical support which can be implemented quickly – that’s detailed plans which deliver real value to the business. 

Some of the issues coming up in discussions were:

  • How do I ensure the processes and systems we had pre-Covid-19 can be reworked to be efficient and effective? How do I know if I am making the right changes? How do I know if these will work properly? 

  • We have great people and our culture has taken years to get to where we want it – how do we keep our culture while making the changes we need to reopen and survive? I want to make this as supportive and easy as possible for them to adapt to the New Norm – how do I get them to buy into the new way of working? For many, it was simply an overwhelmingly challenge with some asking us “where do I even start?” 

  • How do I keep my people engaged and motivated while they work from home? Not all of my people want to or can work from home – how do I accommodate them while still keeping our culture? 

  • With social distancing how can I restructure things so that people who normally needed to work closely can now be as efficient while being socially distant? And in terms of productivity, how do I ensure my people are as productive as possible, allowing for all of these required changes?   

We see our role as problem-solvers and solution-providers so we used these concerns and questions as the basis for building a suite of services to help our clients get back up and running, efficiently and effectively. We always work best by being collaborative – that’s part of our own culture at 3SIXTY.

The 3 Rs

By including a cross-section of clients in what became a highly collaborative exercise, we have created what we feel is a practical and robust set of services to help get businesses of all sizes back to operational business-as-usual and well-positioned for a return to growth.

We have taken this set of services and developed a structured but flexible offering which we call The 3 Rs. The 3 Rs is a structured approach designed to help businesses to Recover, Refocus & Recalibrate as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

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Our stepped approach is as follows:

  1. Recover: Businesses need help to recover as quickly as possible from the changes they’ve encountered. We have been offering practical support based on quickly assessing the current state of the business. We help identify the lessons learned to-date and ensure these are “locked-in” while establishing the immediate new practices that are required for the business.

  2. Refocus: Businesses need help to strategise, reframe and implement short-to-medium term plans, based on the new era of work and needs of their business, which will enable the business to survive and sustain. Strategic operating plans, as well as communication, customer experience and engagement strategies, will need to be revised depending on the specific changes to each business.

  3. Recalibrate: Businesses will need to embed New Norm strategies and behaviours to support their new ‘Business as Usual’ swiftly and effectively. Specifically, a brand or internal culture may need to be retuned or evolved as these New Norm needs expand.

The 3 Rs provides a robust step-by-step roadmap for businesses through the current changing environment and beyond. This roadmap is carefully developed to ensure all key needs are considered and with the right level of flexibility to support the uniqueness of every business. 

Our advice to businesses is to make sure they have clearly thought through what practical steps they need to take to get back to operating efficiently and effectively. The way in which most businesses operate has been hugely disrupted so it is vital to ensure strategies, plans, processes and “ways of working” change accordingly in order to set your business on the path back to growth.

Brian Cremin is the Managing Partner and Head of “Client Satisfaction” at 3SIXTY. He is passionate about working with people, organisations and Senior Leadership Teams to help them perform at their best and to focus on delivering strong and sustainable results. Contact at Hello@your3SIXTY.com.

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Brian Cremin

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