Are we reacting or adapting to COVID-19? Are there just two types of organisations at this moment?
How are organisations ensuring business operation? How does Unilever, AstraZeneca, Amazon or the fashion industry respond to this crisis?
I had previous knowledge about the different crisis that could happen to a business. Every business had thought about emergency plans in case of an economic recession, natural disasters or crisis periods. But, COVID-19 is unlike any crisis we have ever experienced before. It is involving personal and professional decision-making implications.
In this blog, I want to share with you how businesses need to find opportunities and solutions for this period. How employees and employers are responding. For example, how GM is looking to make ventilators and respirators. Also, how Unilever is providing free soap, sanitizer, bleach, food and how are other companies looking for opportunities not to only help our society but to come through this outbreak.
How does COVID-19 create opportunities for organisations?
We never expected that COVID-19 was going to impact society in such a fast way. People, communities, economies, politics and daily life are being affected. In every situation, we need to find a way to stay positive and find opportunities and solutions to the problem. It’s time to find new ways to learn, reflect, think and find solutions to take the various challenges ahead.
We all are adapting our day-to-day behaviour. Whether staying at home, working remotely and following governmental measures. This period is changing our society and businesses in important ways. But, as Albert Einstein said before: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.
Peter Drucker, known as the father of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is the founder of modern management style. He is the creator of the concept of Management by Objectives and others. He became famous for saying “The Entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” In simple words, without change, there is no growth. There will always be an opportunity, and we have to make the most of it.
How are we reacting or adapting?
While this period continues, we need to support our employees and employers as well as our customers. This is one of the most important things we can do right now. Since the past weeks, new business challenges are rising, and what we learn from them will benefit our companies for years to come. Not only in a way on how employers are trusting their employees when working remotely but also, the quality of the job we are delivering to mitigate impact and increase resilience and to protect jobs and organisations.
How are organisations securing
Employers are worried about their employees. Companies are following business priorities, identifying and managing risks and promoting business continuity. It’s impressive to see how employees are collaborating and establishing response plans and taking action to ensure that their startups and organisations survive. Therefore, to respond to the crisis, here are some steps to consider:
Especially for startups, it’s a difficult time but on the other side, it’s also an opportunity to adapt. Wonderful startups are often created during market downturns, where they disrupt markets and create new business models. But it’s also possible that they don’t make it, because they run out of cash. As I mentioned before, without change, there is no growth. So gather your team and create a plan to take action before it’s too late.
2. Create opportunities
You are probably implementing new ideas or trying to find ways to help our society through this period. Due to governmental measures, many small/medium enterprises, organisations and factories are closed. But, what are they doing to adapt in this period?
For example, GM has closed their plants. But, given the situation, they are already collaborating with Ventec on ventilator production for COVID-19 patients. You can read more about it here.
In the case of our startup, BLACKBEAR®, we temporarily opened our platform free-of-charge to help organisations during this situation. You can listen to our radio interview on how we want to help and support our society through this period. You can listen to the interview here.
3. Government Programs
For sure, there will be difficult decisions to take. To come through this period, companies will have to cut on salaries and contracts. But before this happens, try to look for sources of cash that are non-equity, like governmental programs or philanthropy foundations. For example, in New York, several philanthropist organisations created a $75 million fund, for grants and loans for the New York City-based social services and cultural organisations to support them during the pandemic.
Also, be creative in finding sources and new action plans to stay on your feet. Think about short-term deals that could help your business or establish new alliances with stakeholders.
4. Stay Alert
It will be hard to say when this will end and what will be the global impact of it. But, for now, we need to stay alert and to keep your business alive and flexible for any opportunity.
How are Unilever, AstraZeneca, Amazon
or the fashion industry responding to this challenge?
As you noticed, your favourite brands and big corporations are closing their stores. You’ve probably received multiple emails of all those brands you follow, to communicate what they are doing and how they are helping the society. Most of these global organisations are coming together and finding innovative ways to minimise the impact on public health and to limit disruptions to economies and supply chains.
On March 24th, as the world’s biggest soap company, Unilever announced on their website that they have the responsibility to help. Therefore, they provided free soap, sanitizer, bleach and food to the value of €100 million – with half of the donation going to the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform.
Unilever has launched initiatives in the US, India, China, UK, Netherlands, Italy and other countries around the world, with teams manufacturing and distributing millions of bars of free soap to those most in need.
Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever, mentioned: “It’s going to take action from everyone in society to overcome this challenge, and we are ready to play our part and fight this together.”
Also, on March 24th, AstraZeneca announced through their website, that they will donate nine million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world in the fight against COVID-19. And one day after (Wednesday 25th), they sent the first shipment of face masks to Italy.
To focus on and prioritize medical supplies and household necessities, Amazon halted shipment of all “non-essential” items such as books, clothes, and beauty items.
Fashion and beauty brands
The luxury firm LVMH Moët Hennessy, which owns Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, TAG Heuer and many other brands, announced that they will produce quantities of hydroalcoholic gels, made by its brand’s perfume and cosmetics production infrastructure.
Inditex, which owns fashion retailer Zara, said it was looking into ways to convert part of its textile manufacturing capacity in Spain to make hospital gowns.
H&M offered to donate and source supplies of protective masks, gowns and gloves to the EU most affected countries.
The situation that we are living in is making all industries, companies, restaurants, small shops and employees face new challenges. Due to the current challenge, we are already creating and establishing new ways of working. Either if this means to work remotely with teams or to find new opportunities to be accountable to take action on daily business operations.
But also, this situation is making every part of society helping and support each other. Change is always forced during times of uncertainty. When you acknowledge that you have a share in this situation, you can act on it. Then we can make an impact on the situation.
If you are or know any company or person that could use our help with their challenges, we invite you to connect them to our team. You can find all the information here. Young talents who want to use their creativity to tackle the current challenges can also register through our website.