Bolder and more focussed

Back in June we invited you to take part in our ‘InItTogether’ survey to hear about the challenges faced by Scottish-based businesses and public organisations as we moved through the crisis and market disruption caused by COVID19. We received quite a few responses and supplemented these with some 1-1 interviews with business leaders. We promised back in June that we would share the findings with you so here are the highlights:

  • short-term operational responses to COVID19 within organisations were good but delivery of longer-term plans now significantly more difficult; particularly given the changes that need to be made to technology & workforce at a time when businesses are strapped for cash. [This was the position in early summer – arguably it will be even more challenging now that wave 2 restrictions are in place]
  • perhaps unsurprisingly, half of all respondents found it challenging to engage with their customers and prospects during lockdown. Business leaders were sensitive to the challenges being faced by everyone and wanted to ensure their engagement was authentic. One interviewee started free webinars and then created a ‘friends of’ community to maintain engagement with their clients
  • most were happy with the digital capabilities of their workforce and accept that their reliance on digital is now higher than ever – ‘there is no going back’. One interviewee summarised this nicely by saying the acceleration of digital service delivery during lockdown had ‘earned them (as an organisation) the right to play’ and their COVID response had created a level of trust with their service users to do more
  • organisations are collaborating more and we believe this is partly commercially driven but also because we felt during lockdown that we were all in it together therefore as individuals and business leaders we became more supportive.

The title of this blog was gifted by one of the interviewees when we asked him ‘What one thing would you have done differently at the start of lockdown?’ His response was ‘Be bolder and more focussed’. I think many of us would agree with that. Another interviewer offered her view on the general response to COVID by saying, ‘Those leaders who build businesses are always on the lookout, are flexible in responding, and are hungry to hustle – they are more likely to survive.’

We continue to challenge ourselves as a business and we are sure you are doing the same. We pulled together these takeaways that may help to provide some food for thought - Next Normal takeaways.

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