COVID-19

Are Gig Workers a Crisis Management Solution?

 

In this article for WorkMarket, Diane Mulcahy explains why gig workers may provide the solution you need to adapt to the current pandemic and changing business environment.

The world, the economic environment, and the demands placed on your company are all changing in unexpected ways. The difference between succeeding or failing to manage through a crisis can depend on your ability to add staff to critical functions, and access the exact skills and experience needed to respond to a changed business environment.

Gig workers can help your company weather this crisis by providing flexibility and resilience to your workforce. Maybe you need a skilled writer, blogger or technician to move a project forward or be “on the ground” in a specific geographic market. By using independent workers, you can respond to changing demands for specific skills, experience, or expertise, when and where you need them.

Independent workers bring other benefits to companies: they can increase the productivity of the workforce and support a high-performance culture. Companies that embrace the Gig Economy – made up of consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, and on-demand workers – will have a competitive advantage, in both good times and bad, over companies that don’t.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Accessing talent
  • Increasing productivity
  • Supporting a high-performance culture

 

Read the full article, How Gig Workers Can Help Your Company Weather the Storm, on the WorkMarket website.

 

Evaluating Risk Assessments on COVID-19

 

Martin Pergler summarizes the assessment of comparative risk levels from two recent press articles and compares them to simple-minded risk assessments to identify the value of the information. 

As we gingerly try to “unfreeze” economic and social activity after this first wave of COVID, there’s a lot of prognostication what formerly normal activities are more or less risky. Two recent U.S. press articles thoughtfully assess comparative risk levels, but also fall into several pretty typical risk assessment traps. What did they do well, what could they have done better? (This article focuses on methodological lessons learned and risk management best practice. Apologies; I have nothing to add as to how risky it truly is to have your hair cut next week!)

The New York Times surveyed several hundred epidemiologists when they expect to feel personally comfortable doing 20 activities. So e.g. only 3% expect to feel comfortable attending a sporting event, concert, or play this summer, 32% in 3-12 months, and 64% in more than a year.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Analysis of commentary
  • Assumptions about risk mitigation
  • Risk assessment

 

Read the full article, COVID risk by activity: how to (not) do risk assessment, on LinkedIn.

 

European Football – Hard Man, Howler, or Hug the Line

 

On a somewhat lighter note, since COVID-19 has affected every social event, including football, Sherif El Henaoui takes a moment to kick around a few opinions on whether Bundesliga should restart after the Coronavirus break. 

Is that the most important topic to discuss at the moment?

Not for me. But given the amount of comments and emotions it seems so. Was it the right decision to re-start? Before you answer the question, check if you are qualified to respond. I am not qualified.

Arguments for and against the re-start.

 

Included in this post:

  • For
  • Against
  • Sherif’s two cents

 

Read the full article, Bundesliga Restart – Right or Wrong?, on LinkedIn.

 

Position Your Company for Post COVID-19 Success

 

Andrew Hone’s company provides a comprehensive report designed to position your business for success in the post Covid-19 environment.

Achieving rapid and sustainable cost reduction is a critical business objective, especially in the current environment. The near-term economic outlook is bleak, with the IMF projecting the world’s worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

At a time when most businesses are likely to see deteriorating market conditions and declining revenue, rebalancing the cost base to reflect the new operating environment could be the difference between riding out the current crisis or becoming another business casualty.

The Agile Cost Advantage is the culmination of 20 years’ of working with business leaders on cost reduction.

 

Areas covered in this report include:

  • A systematic four-stage approach to designing and executing a cost reduction program
  • Common causes of failure (and how to avoid them) 
  • Techniques for identifying cost reduction opportunities
  • How to set your program up for success

 

Download the full report, The Agile Cost Advantage, on the Zenith Strategy website.

 

Strategic Steps for Business Post COVID-19 

 

Geoff Wilson asks the questions that make you think about your business strategy post COVID-19, identifies what you should focus on, and explains how you should move forward.

Hey, you there…the guy or gal with the life you always wanted.  How does it feel?

You are working from home.  Your computer screen has become your window into the world.  And, you have realized that it is, in fact, possible to pack more meetings into a day if you just sit still and do everything by videoconference.

But, how’s your business?  I mean, really, how is your BUSINESS?

I don’t mean how many COVID-19 cases do you have.  I don’t mean how many furloughs, shutdowns, or capacity reductions do you have.  I don’t mean how much stimulus cash you were able (or not able) to borrow.  And, I certainly don’t mean how much sales have decreased (or, if you are lucky, increased) over the past couple of months.  Those are interesting, good coffee chat items.

But they are the items in the spotlight.  And, the spotlight in this case is searing.  Everything–and I mean everything–is being cast in terms of the effects of COVID-19. Media coverage grasps at straws for something new after months of exhausting coverage and in doing so pulls ever more anecdotal evidence onto center stage.  Statistics that we never knew existed (well, ok, some of us knew what an R0 was, but only kind of) are now part of the national discourse.  And, yes, your employee base is focused on these same things.

But what about what’s happening with your business outside of the spotlight?  How are you thinking about that?  Because that’s really what you need to focus on.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Shocks in the system
  • Second-order effects
  • The Uber example

 

Read the full article, The great strategic “wreck-oning”, on the Wilson Growth Partners website. 

 

Looking through the Lens of Risk Management at COVID-19

 

Vik Muktavaram applies a few principles of risk management to understand why COVID-19 grew from a risk to a pandemic. 

As the federal government finally took the first decisive step in stemming the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the images of serpentine lines of arriving international passengers at airports waiting for immigration and screening for COVID-19 coronavirus ubiquitous online and in print. Presumably, the rationale for the screening was that these arriving passengers represented a high-risk cohort. Yet, the long, crowded lines with no social distancing not only defeats the very purpose of screening but in fact, one could argue that the risk of spreading is increased substantially amongst the ground staff as well as passengers from different airlines. 

As we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we should also be wondering how did we miss this when all the signs were there. How did some countries such as Singapore and South Korea manage to contain, if not necessarily prevent, the spread of virus in their countries despite their proximity to China? Risk Management is a structured way of looking at early indicators and prioritizing risks and then managing these risks. As our crisis response continues to be a case study in “how not to”, let’s take a step back to see how the risk (low likelihood, high impact) of a virus-pandemic became a crisis. Mind you, this was not a black swan event. Even as early as 2015, Ebola outbreak provided a harbinger of things to come. Before there is a war, there is a failure of diplomacy, before there is a bankruptcy, there are telltale signs of declining sales, before COVID-19 became a pandemic there was Wuhan and there were several emerging risk indicators.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Risk transfer
  • Risk acceptance
  • Risk avoidance
  • Risk mitigation

 

Read the full article, COVID-19 pandemic – How a risk became a crisis in the US, on the Rithym Advisors website. 

 

Strategic Steps to Deal with Looming Changes

 

With COVID-19 still plaguing the globe and the threat of a second wave looming, Kaihan Krippendorff has customized a strategy to address, prepare for, and build a strategy for the future.

We are dealing with unprecedented change invoked by the COVID-19 pandemic. What we need more than ever is a sense of hope. So, we’ve taken The Outthinker Process – a strategic process that helps business leaders step outside of conventional thinking to redesign their business models and strategies – and reformed it specifically for what we’re going through right now.

We distilled insights and advice from personal interviews with some of today’s foremost strategic thought leaders – Renee Mauborgne, Rita McGrath, Efosa Ojomo, Bharat Anand, Alex Osterwalder, and Scott Anthony – into a succinct set of steps you can follow to make sense of the future then design a strategy to help your business thrive through the crisis.

We have found that by following four steps, you can quickly apply emerging strategic concepts to your business strategy, rethink your business model, and redesign your business to be fit for the future. We have customized these specifically for the COVID-19 crisis. The entire process should take 3.5 hours to complete. You can do it in one sitting or spread over several thinking sessions.

 

The strategic steps identified in this article are:

  • Imagine: Think through potential future scenarios.
  • Dissect: Break down your business model to assess which parts you may want to change.
  • Expand: Expand your strategic options by ideating potential strategies.
  • Analyze: Assess and prioritize your options.

 

Read the full article, Four Steps to Outthink COVID, on Kaihan.net.

 

The Travel Industry Transition

 

David Uriarte provides a short forecast on the travel industry post COVID-19.

In the travel industry, we are currently living devastating times. During these days, like many others, I try to imagine the future of travel after COVID-19. In this process, analyze the new limits and new opportunities is a common exercise.

In Europe, in the short term, many resort hotels are opening in June or July, with lower occupancies than expected, but probably with a larger “summer” season. City hotels will wake up in September. By 2021 there will be a strong recovery, but still not reaching 2019 levels which I believe will be reached in 2022. Nearby hotels, that can be reached by car, will have a substantial advantage over the hotels you need to reach by plane or boat. The word in travel this year is short: short stay, short distance, and short booking window.

 

Read the full article, Future in Travel. Why we call it “new normality” when we mean “transition”?, on LinkedIn.

 

Prepare Your Company to Succeed Post COVID-19

 

Carlos Castelan’s company blog provides five questions to help you think about and prepare for the future post COVID-19.

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone is an understatement. The last six months have brought an enormity of difficulties and change to both the world of retail and the global population. While we don’t have the fabled Sports Almanac to identify future results, we wanted to share five questions that we have used with our clients to help plan for the second half of the year:

1: How are you supporting your current employees and remaining agile to meet new opportunities?

COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and added challenges from homeschooling young children to caring for family members. This is no ordinary time and it is also an extraordinary opportunity for leaders to demonstrate empathy for what is happening in their team’s lives.

It’s imperative to demonstrate to all employees that people come first and that their whole lives are welcome at work regardless of whether the impacts are visible. This can take the form of  extending certain benefits to help manage through those challenges such as flexible work schedules, childcare reimbursements, and family care leave. It means providing adequate sick leave and income stability to those battling the virus to ensure their recovery and the safety of their colleagues. Target, for example, temporarily raised wages, provided free backup childcare for loved ones, and up to 30 days of paid leave for team members 65 or older, pregnant, or with underlying medical conditions.

This is also a critical moment to be agile to meet new opportunities. Essential businesses are having to flex up to meet a surge in demand. How can they quickly and safely identify and onboard talent? As retailers accelerate digital transformation initiatives like online ordering and curbside fulfillment, how can they shift resources to accelerate and deliver on those initiatives?  Nowhere was this more critical than Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer, which has aggressively leaned into curbside pickup. To rapidly hire over 150,000 team members, they launched an expedited recruitment process and partnered with companies across restaurants, hospitality, and retail that had furloughed workers, in some cases going from application to offer within 24 hours.

 

The remaining four questions explore:

  • Customer retention and relationships
  • Impact on your industry and and competitors
  • Impact on suppliers and supply chain
  • Lower revenue

 

Read the full article, Back to the future: five questions to help you jump ahead in 2020, on the Navio Group website. 

 

How to Manage Bad Debt and Delinquent Accounts

 

As both people and businesses begin to feel the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, Tobias Baer provides clear steps that can help your business deal with delinquent accounts.

Many of my clients so far have experienced less delinquencies on consumer debt than I had feared. Unfortunately I don’t think that I can claim that this is only because I’ve helped them draw up extraordinarily effective credit policies and scoring systems – instead, this time around delinquencies themselves might be delayed, and lower balances today may be the receding water levels we observe before a tsunami. A welcome side-effect of lockdown measures across the world was that many consumers had a lot less opportunity to spend – discretionary spending has nose-dived by 30-60% in many markets and card portfolios. And those who were robbed of their income sources by Covid-19 often had some buffers (cash and credit lines) that they could draw upon.

 

Advice included in this article:

  • How to segment delinquent accounts
  • Build an economic model
  • Reassign accounts to dedicated team

 

Read the full article, Three Tools You Need to Stem the coming Tsunami of Bad Debt, on LinkedIn.

 

We All Bleed Red

 

John Murray steps up and provides a post that tackles the divide in discourse surrounding current politics and pandemic issues. 

It is tough to get a majority of Americans to agree on anything these days, let alone an overwhelming majority.

Wait! Here’s something: ‘Political discourse in America has devolved and become toxic and dangerous.’

Last May, Pew Research published a study indicating that a whopping 85% of U.S. adults agreed that political debate over the past few years has become more negative and less-respectful; 76% agreed that debate had also become less fact-based.

It seems we can all agree that we can’t respectfully disagree.

Some folks, myself included, were cautiously optimistic that the COVID-19 crisis would bring us all closer together, and tone down the rhetoric and finger-pointing.

You know: create a rallying point that would allow us to all get behind a common cause in unity and positive enthusiasm?

Boy, were we wrong!

 

Included in this article:

  • MSNBC and FOX
  • Democrats and Republicans
  • Lessons from the Marines

 

Read the full article, The Elusiveness of Healthy Discourse, on LinkedIn.

 

Love and Politics in America – and Other Places

 

An uplifting and sage post from Paul Millerd on what politics has become, racism in America, and why love eats politics.  

I’m sitting down right now at 11:03am in Spain to write this. I am not sure where I’ll end up or if I’ll hit send this week, but I wanted to give it a shot to write something amid the pain and anger in my home country.

I write this after spending the entire month of May fighting an infection in my gums trying to hide my fear of facing long-term health issues again and then in the past few days, finally finding a treatment that seems to be working.

I also write this

From the perspective of living abroad for the last two years, watching people in my country increasingly become sucked into polarizing narratives.

…and as someone who will inevitably have to deal with the challenges of race in America if I am lucky enough to become a father.

America, America, America.

As a white man in the US it has become a tricky time to say anything. The overwhelming pressures are to parrot popular political narratives or stay silent. The pressure to “take a stand” within the two political frames is overwhelming. Even many of my non American friends are amazed at how often they are asked where they stand on American issues.

 

Topics covered in this article include:

  • The political divide
  • Trauma and the body
  • Signs of hope

 

Read the full newsletter, Love Eats Politics for Breakfast, on the Boundless website.

 

What’s in Store for Retail Post COVID-19?

 

Angela Thompson shares a complimentary experiential and distinctive retail patterning observations in a detailed report, and provides observations on post COVID19 implications. 

Earlier this year, I conducted my annual experiential and distinctive retail patterning in (a pre-COVID-19) New York City.  While the world has shifted and the way in which retailers offer experiences has changed, I believe that there are still key takeaways from the patterning which can be applied to today’s shopping experience.

The goal of experiential retail is to engage the customer, increase brand loyalty and, ultimately, drive sales.  These findings may need to be altered into a virtual environment or they may inspire novel ideas to solve new in-store challenges. Either way – I’m hopeful that you will find this work interesting and helpful.  

HERE are the findings from 2020.  Previous years patterning as well as Black Friday Patterning, may all be viewed on my website.

Amongst the highlights: Starbucks’ Pick-up only store, Atelier Beauté Chanel brand immersion, Puma’s tech-enabled store + 17 more stores. 

Please feel free to share this patterning with others in your network whom you feel would also benefit from this work.  As always, I’m happy to chat with you further about these findings, brainstorm the next iteration of your retail strategy or conduct market research to get a pulse on your consumer sentiment.

 

Content includes:

  • Key takeaways
  • Methodology
  • Patterning themes comparison grid
  • Store by store recap including post COVID-19 recommendations
  • Select store year-to-year changes
  • Thompson Marketing consulting bio and capabilities

 

Download the full report, 2020 Experiential & Distinctive Retail Patterning + Post COVID-19 Recommendations, through Dropbox.

 

Navigate COVID-19 with Key Findings from Influential Thought Leaders

 

When Kaihan Krippendorff found his calendar clear due to COVID-19 cancellations, he, in collaboration with his team, decided to launch the Reimagine the Future summit. This article is a summary of all 47 sessions, reviewed recordings, and in-depth content analysis of the session transcriptions and audience dialogue from today’s most influential business thinkers who took part in the summit.   

In March, as the reality of COVID-19 started taking hold, when my team received our fifth request in one day to postpone a keynote speech and my calendar was suddenly, unexpectedly, free for months, we sat down to discuss what to do. We figured that (a) other business thought-leaders are similarly, suddenly free and (b) many are wondering what would happen to the business they own or work.

So, we decided to link supply with demand and launch a series of virtual summits connecting today’s most influential business thinkers with the practitioners (strategists, executives, and entrepreneurs) who could apply the business thinkers’ insights to create a better future … with 100% of profits donated to COVID-19 charities. We called it the Reimagine the Future summit.

The response exceeded our hopes. Immediately, many of today’s foremost business thinkers signed up including Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize-winning economist), Renee Mauborgne (creator of Blue Ocean Strategy and ranked the #1 business thinker in the world), Rita McGrath (ranked the #1 innovation thinker in the world), and Liz Wiseman (ranked the #1 leadership thinker in the world). In all, 47 of the most influential management thinkers today agreed to speak. We attracted over 5,000 “Outthinkers” (innovators, executives, entrepreneurs) and raised $160,000 for charity.

 

Included in this post:

  • Proximity: Rethink what it means to be close.
  • Purpose: Find and align to a purpose that puts you and your collaborators into action.
  • Options: Focus not on creating a plan but on creating options.
  • Coordination: Create collaboration, finding ideas from non-obvious spaces.
  • Work through the messy middle to create a new order

 

Read the full article, What Today’s Most Influential Business Thinkers Recommend For Managing Through Covid-19, on Kaihan.net

 

Exploring the Potential for a New Era in Higher Education 

 

Eric Hiller takes a look at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education and discusses the pros and cons of online learning. 

 

“With the advent of our unfriendly visitor from Wuhan, the COVID-19 virus, a lot of things have changed. Higher education has been particularly hard hit. I could not find a complete list of colleges and universities in the USA that were closed, but one can get a pretty good qualitative sense of the effect, for example:

  • Unesco shows an excellent map of school closures. Many countries have shut down schools nationwide! ‘According to UNESCO monitoring, over 100 countries have implemented nationwide closures, impacting over half of the world’s student population.’ Only the USA, Canada, Brazil, Russia, and Indonesia seem to have localized closures, although some countries do have universities open. 
  • Anecdotally, some of the most prestigious Ivy Leaguers, such as Harvard and Princeton have closed campuses, and other powerful state schools, such UC Berkeley, have campus technically open, but all instruction is online.
  • Local lists of closed colleges and universities overflow.
  • The dire state of higher ed and short-term effect of COVID-19

The short-term effect of the Chinese CoronaVirus on colleges could be devastating, i.e. this could be the coop de grace that forces schools on the bubble into the grave.” 

 

The article explores:

  • The four basic tools used for learning
  • Where the online model doesn’t work
  • Why COVID-19 is a long-term higher ed forcing function

 

Read the full article/release, Eric Hiller Examines Covid 19 Effect on Higher Education, on The Express Wire. 

 

Practical Steps to Employee Retention 

 

As the disruption continues, many businesses struggle to retain their employees. This post from David Burnie’s company provides strategies that can help keep employees on board, engaged, and motivated.

Happy, successful employees are critical for a successful company. While companies must consider how to retain employees at the best of times, employee retention is an especially pressing topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Ontario continues social distancing indefinitely, maintaining an engaged staff will offer a sense of stability to companies amid flux.

How can companies retain top talent to ensure maximum productivity, motivation and success?

Employee retention strategies can be implemented by employers to ensure that employees feel valued and engaged, even with current remote working practices. This can support lower turnover rates, higher productivity and improved organizational performance.

 

Suggestions included in this article:

  • Recognition programs
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Health, safety and wellness programs
  • Communication 

 

Read the full article, Employee Retention Strategies During COVID-19, on the Burnie Group website.

 

Supply Chain Q & A

 

Eric Hiller provides a short introductory article and a link to a forthcoming webinar on Thursday, May 28, 2020, that explains how to keep a supply chain up and running during COVID-19 and into the future. 

The old world…

So, you had a supply chain, and you thought it was pretty “optimized.”

Yeah, you could improve it here and there, but you had wrung out 95%+ of the addressable waste.

To really make progress, you would need to make MAJOR changes (new suppliers, locations, etc.), but there just is always other stuff to do.

The new world…

Then Corona happens!!!!

Your tidy and luxurious platform is now burning.

Now you have no choice but to DO SOMETHING different.

Cost was really important and you thought delivery and quality were assured.

Now delivery is a huge problem (maybe quality too.)

The future world…

What do you do short term?  What do you set up in the future to stop this from happening again?

 

Read the article, Corona Supply Chain Blues — what to do about cost, when delivery is a problem, and find links to the webinar on the Hiller and Associates website.

 

The Creative Destruction of COVID-19

 

Alex Sharpe takes a look at where we are, where we’re going, and why history can help us identify possible opportunities.

The CORONA Virus is rocking our worlds – no doubt. It is a scary time with lots of uncertainty. Fortunately, times like this cause a disruption which also means opportunity. For many of us that is not easy to hear as we watch businesses struggle and industries change. It is even harder as we hear about the loss of life and we watch the stress placed on the healthcare system. Business owners and entrepreneurs are starting to ask questions like

‘What opportunities will exist that did not exist before?’

‘What voids can I fill for customers in a post-pandemic world?’

‘How do I keep my staff engaged if this goes on for another 2 months?’

‘I just started a new business. Should I stick with it?’

 Spoiler alert, history tells us situations like this, afford a great opportunity. 

 Do not miss out. Opportunity is knocking.

 

Included in this article:

  • Isaac Newton
  • Warren Buffet
  • Apple, Microsoft, Disney

 

Read the full article, Disruption – What a Great Time to Pivot, on LinkedIn.

 

How to Prepare a Pandemic Playbook 

 

Boris Galonske offers direction on how to navigate the effects of COVID-19 in the form of a detailed outline of a playbook. 

The coronavirus exposes critical infrastructure to a risk environment which is unprecedented in recent history. In order to maintain resilient operations establishing a playbook how to run critical infrastructure these days is key.

Situation today

A pandemic has been part of risk inventories of large corporations for several years. However, the accelerating speed with which the coronavirus spreads across global regions comes as a surprise. Research organisations and networks uncover new facts almost on a daily basis.

Medical researchers fast-track efforts to come up with medical interventions which in the best case will be available by year end.

Politicians and financial experts carve out policy mechanisms targeted at coping with the economic consequences of the pandemic – short-term and longer-term.

Although corporations also need to review their exposures and identify mitigation mechanisms, maintaining robust operations of critical infrastructure (e.g. IT, chemical plants, utility assets, power plants, chemical plants & sites, …) today is critical.

Hence, as vulnerability of operations increases, stabilising the management response and reducing complexity is key in order to maintain operational resilience.

 

Information provided in this article:

  • What stakeholders expect
  • How risks materialize
  • Staying in control
  • How to proceed

 

Read the full article, Weathering the storm – Establishing a playbook for critical infrastructure operations, on the Silverberg website. 

 

Using COVID-19 to Your Advantage

 

Dan Markovitz shares why COVID-19 provides the opportunity to institute change. 

“You’ve heard it countless times before: 

‘People don’t like change.’

‘Change is hard.’

‘Change activates people’s lizard brain. They’ll fight you or run away.’

‘People don’t mind changing. They don’t like being changed.’

You hear these complaints so often that you’d think they’re inscribed in the 10 Commandments by now. (They’re not, by the way.)

Sure, there’s plenty of truth in those sayings, but the good news is that right now—in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak—they’re less relevant than ever. If you want to make a change at your organization, now’s the time to do it. 

The habits that people develop are like ruts in a dirt road. Whether you’re driving, biking, or hiking on that road, it’s really tough to get out of the ruts. You get stuck in the well-worn grooves that you or others have formed over the years. Which pant leg do you put on first? Do you brush first and then floss, or floss and then brush? How do you interlace your fingers? Good luck changing any of those habits. 

Except. 

Except when a flood washes out the road and you (and everyone else) is forced to bushwhack across new territory. Everything is thrown into turmoil, and the old habits no longer apply. When the road is gone, so is the rut.

 

Read the full article, Covid-19 Is The Best Thing To Happen To Your Company. Seriously., on the Markovitz consulting website. 

 

Financial Projections Post COVID-19

 

Martin Nel shares his synthesis on recent events and data that have informed his outlook on how COVID-19 will affect major players in Canadian Retail Banking.

Covid-19: When will it end? What will be the damage to the economy? What will be the impact on the major players in Canadian Retail Banking? 

Looking at the S&P 500 over the last few weeks, it seems that it will all be over soon, with limited economic damage. Let’s call this the mild outcome.

A Reuters poll of 25 economists says the Canadian economy will shrink by 27.5% this quarter. In April the US growth in unemployment equals the total working population of Canada (~20 million people). Per The London Times Britain is on course to suffer its worst recession for 300 years. Economic indicators say this will go on for quite a while and the damage to the economy will be significant. I’ll call this the severe outcome.

Now, the efficient markets hypothesis says that stock prices reflect all available information and is therefore the best possible prediction of the future. There is also a view that stock markets are driven by irrational human psychology, amplified by trading algorithms. Then again, economic data is reported by publications and neutral stories don’t attract eyeballs or win Pulitzer prizes. 

Bottom line: We don’t know which scenario will materialize.  

So, let’s look at both scenarios and the impact on Canadian Retail Banking.

 

Included in this article:

  • De-globalization
  • Delinquencies and losses
  • Home prices

 

Read the full article, Covid-19 and Canadian Retail Banking – Things are not looking too bad for the Dinosaurs, on the NelInc.ca website.

 

How to Improve the Data on COVID-19

 

Christophe De Greift identifies the problem of low data literacy and shares four rules that can improve statistical data during COVID-19 and our understanding of the situation. 

The world was caught off guard by a new virus that we are still trying to understand. If we turn to official sources to find answers to our questions, we often find graphics that are not very relevant and even misleading about COVID-19. In the era of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, we continue to suffer from low data literacy in institutions and circumstances where decision-making based on reliable data should take precedence…

Hoping to see a rapid improvement in the official sources of communication on the health situation, I recall below some basic quality criteria for statistical communication, and I illustrate each criterion with an example recently found in official sources – anonymous so as not to hurt sensitivities – as well as a proposal for improvement.

 

The four rules covered are:

  • Key questions
  • Comparisons
  • Interpretation
  • Building Indicators

 

Read the full article, 4 Rules to Improve Our Statistical Communication in COVID-19 Time, on Christophe’s blog.

 

Finding the Positive in the Pandemic

 

Take a look back to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with Tobias Baer where he asks us to imagine the positive impact to both the individual and the economy.

Amidst all the gloom and panic, I saw a light today. Grounded in Germany, I made a long bicycle ride through mostly empty countryside. All my worries about my family, clients, and own affairs notwithstanding, I couldn’t help feeling bliss and happiness, and it dawned on me that also this crisis won’t be the end of the world – and that we might be able to soften the blow and use it for something good. With a pause button.

As we look at especially elderly patients dying because of a shortage of hospitals and ICU machinery, shutting down the world makes sense. And spending one, two months at home with our families actually could be a boon in disguise – if it wasn’t for the world economy, our livelihood, fighting for its survival. And as I was gliding through the fields, I wondered if we could simply hit the pause button on the economy – if we, the ‘normal’ world (those lucky enough not to be fighting death in the world’s health systems), collectively could go on a 2-month vacation, like a meditation retreat, while the real world, our businesses and financial pressures, are frozen in time. And it dawned on me that in a world where already normality has disappeared and many businesses are shut down, such a utopia might not be far fetched at all.

 

Read the full article, Could a Pause Button Save the World Economy, on LinkedIn

 

What May Come to Pass after COVID-19

 

Robyn Bolton shares her predictions on what comes after the wave of COVID-19 abates. 

‘What happens next? You know, once all of this is over?’ my friend asked. ‘There will be a new normal, but what will it look like?’

This is the question everyone is asking.

Lots of people proclaim to have the answer. Some are based on history, but history isn’t a great predictor of the future. Some opinions are based on trends and projections but rely assumptions which may or may not be true. Many are based on our hopes or fears, but those are grounded in emotions which can change from one moment to the next.

No one actually has the answer.

What we’re experiencing is a fundamental disruption to our way of life. It calls into question everything we believed to be true about ourselves and our worlds. It requires us to re-think things that we took to be inviolable truths. It is impossible to experience such a sudden and all-encompassing upheaval and emerge as if nothing happened.

We know things will be different once the restrictions (e.g. stay-at-home, limited gathering sizes, essential workers only, curfews) are lifted.

What we do not know is HOW they will be different and HOW LONG they will stay different.

 

Topics included in this article:

  • How will connection be different?
  • How will work be done?
  • How will learning and education occur?
  • HOW LONG will the “new normal” last?

 

Read the full article, What Happens Next?, on Medium

 

New Ways to Provide Inspiration, Connection, and Education

 

As we begin to consider the far-reaching and long-lasting impacts of the current pandemic, Robbie Kellman Baxter thinks ahead and shares her thoughts on the future of live gatherings and how that will affect a wide range of institutions, organizations, and individuals.

A few weeks ago, Facebook announced they’re canceling any large physical events with 50 or more people through June 2021. (Some they’ll hold as virtual events.) Microsoft announced something similar. Many organizations are allowing no business travel through at least June of this year.

 It looks like many organizations are going to be “virtual only” for at least another year.

And if businesses are being cautious, consumer gatherings are likely to be limited as well. What does that mean for sports, concerts, museums, theaters, theme parks and cruise ships? Industries most hard hit by the ban on large live gatherings include education, conferences, entertainment (sports, theater, concerts, amusement parks, museums, zoos) and travel.

 

Included in this article:

  • Re-engineering virtual events
  • Online content to maintain and deepen relationships
  • Four ideas to help you move forward

 

Read the full article, “The Future of Live Gatherings and What it Means for Your Forever Transactions”, on LinkedIn.

 

Eight Survival Steps for Your Business

 

Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis. 

I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks.

Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever.

And as a society, we’re learning faster than at any other time in my lifetime.

People have shifted to remote work, retailers have ramped up store pickup services, governments have created relief programs, factories have shifted to making personal protective equipment, the Army is building temporary hospitals, and scientists and regulators are speeding new treatments to market. It’s impressive.

 

The steps outlined include:

  • Supporting the needs of society
  • Employee retention
  • Customer support
  • Cashflow forecast

 

Read the full article, Innovation amid Stress and Uncertainty, on the Setili website.

 

A Framework for Responding to COVID-19

 

Andrew Hone’s company has developed a 6-week program which takes businesses through each step of our three-stage framework for responding to COVID-19.

COVID-19 represents a formidable challenge to businesses of all sizes. Necessary policy responses have caused significant disruption to the global economy, with simultaneous demand, supply and financial shocks. Most businesses are experiencing a sharp decline in near-term revenue, requiring actions to mitigate the impact on cash flows and potentially to secure additional funding.

Based on our own experiences with clients on turnaround and performance improvement programs, we have developed a strategic framework to assist businesses in working through their response to COVID-19. There are three key elements to this framework:

 

  • Ensuring immediate business continuity
  • Securing the near-term financial viability of the business
  • Positioning the business for medium-term strategic opportunities

 

Read the full article, Responding to COVID-19, on Zenith Strategy Associates’ website.

 

Are We Prepared?

 

James Bowen takes a look ahead to the end of this year, and shares his thoughts on four likely scenarios that may come to pass. 

Today we live in an environment of extreme uncertainty. More than 26 million Americans who had jobs a month ago are now unemployed. No one can tell you whether that number will be bigger or smaller a month from now. We have seen negative prices for the West Texas Intermediate oil contract, but that same barrel traded yesterday for $28.82 for December delivery, giving a tremendous premium to anyone who can store crude oil. As I previously posted, the expectations of risk priced into equity markets have unquestionably increased; it’s difficult even to estimate how much, because any estimate of future cash flows at this point is mostly guesswork. Point estimates are worthless and even probability distributions of future outcomes are likely based on shifting sands.

 

The four outcomes explored are:

  • Stagflation
  • International Competition
  • Prolonged Recession
  • Robust Recovery

 

Read the full article, Four Scenarios for Year-End 2020, on LinkedIn.

 

Expectations on Risk and Returns

 

James Bowen takes a moment to muse on risk expectations and market values.

 

Today I read Christopher Schelling’s insightful article in Institutional Investor, “The Dust Bowl Ravaged 1930s America: Coronavirus is Today’s Equivalent.” It led me to thinking about risk, and in particular how a risk no one considered at all a little over a month ago has emerged to destroy trillions of dollars of value — perhaps not in percentage terms, but certainly in dollar terms the largest destruction of value in my lifetime. How can this be?

The market value of anything, whether a farm or a necklace or a share of stock, is what someone else is willing to pay for it. In financial markets, we should see a relationship between the market price of an asset and its future cash flows, discounted for the riskiness of the asset. The riskier the asset, the greater the rate of discount of the future cash flows. Of course, it’s all more complicated than that, but at its very core the foundational principle of modern finance is that return is commensurate with risk, and the sum of the expected future returns on an asset tells us what it is worth. When the riskiness of future returns increases, present value decreases, and vice versa. It’s that simple.

 

Read the full article, On Risk in the Coronavirus Era, on LinkedIn.

 

Eight Survival Steps for Your Business

 

Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis. 

I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks.

Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever.

And as a society, we’re learning faster than at any other time in my lifetime.

People have shifted to remote work, retailers have ramped up store pickup services, governments have created relief programs, factories have shifted to making personal protective equipment, the Army is building temporary hospitals, and scientists and regulators are speeding new treatments to market. It’s impressive.

 

The steps outlined include:

  • Supporting the needs of society
  • Employee retention
  • Customer support
  • Cashflow forecast

 

Read the full article, Innovation amid Stress and Uncertainty, on the Setili website.

 

How to Manage Your Company’s Culture during COVID-19

 

Sarah Ralston Miller and Zaheera Soomar co-authored this article on how to support and strengthen company culture during the current crisis. 

Through the Covid-19 pandemic, our world of work has changed almost overnight. In the past few weeks, we’ve spoken with senior leaders at organizations with whom we have been working to strengthen their ethical culture. These leaders understand that their culture is an essential resource to navigate through the current crisis, and are finding new ways to cultivate ethical culture under these radically-changed circumstances. Drawing on our conversations with leaders across business and civil society, here are a few reflections on ways to guide your own culture during this period.

Be deliberate about your remote-based culture. It is important that we understand how the shift to remote work environments impacts our organizational culture, no matter how temporary we hope it will be. Being intentional about what we put in place can enable benefits and mitigate risks. Transitioning to remote work without building a corresponding culture creates multiple risks, including loss of employee engagement and inclusion, impact to productivity, lack of connectedness between individual and overall organization goals, increased fragmentation and risks of misconduct related to changing accountabilities.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Remote-based culture
  • Communication
  • Scenario-planning
  • Agility and adaptability

 

Read the full article, Cultivating Culture in a Crisis, on the Principia website. 

 

How to Survive and Thrive Post COVID-19

 

In this detailed article, Surbhee Grover identifies the decision-making inputs and new market approaches that will be required to survive in the new economy.

For entrepreneurs, coming out of COVID-19 isn’t the end of a crisis. It’s the beginning of a new way of thinking about their approach to product-market fit, financing, marketing and go-to-market strategies. And for some, will be a time to reflect on their personal approach to risk. The exponential pace of change to society will mean that only those entrepreneurs who have the greatest ability to adapt will survive. 

Framing how the world will be different is important, as these differences will both unlock new opportunity and create new goalposts for innovation, user adoption (B2C and B2B), team building, product-market fit, and venture funding. We believe a few things will be true:

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Brand relationships
  • Purchasing behaviour
  • Migration of talent and teams
  • Re-imagined supply chains
  • Data needs and sources

 

Read the full article, Shakeout of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem What will it take to survive? And thrive?, on LinkedIn.

 

Reimagine The Future Summit

Join Kaihan Krippendorff on May 6th, for a summit with 24 thought-leaders from around the globe, across 24 hours where thought leaders will discuss how to rethink tomorrow for you and your Organization. Confirmed speakers include Dan Pink, Amy Edmondson, Marshall Goldsmith, Faith Popcorn, and Rosabeth Moss-Kanter. 

 100% of profits will go to charity. Donations will be awarded to Kiva, No Kid Hungry, GiveDirectly, and the European Food Banks Federation.

A Forecast on Payors and Providers Post COVID-19

 

Joyjit Saha Choudhury takes a look ahead to determine the effect of COVID-19 on health plans. 

COVID-19 has upended our society, economy and the healthcare ecosystem in particular, and tremendous efforts are underway to try and manage the epidemic. In this difficult and unsettling time, I wanted to help think ahead to actions US-based payors and providers should take for a post-COVID-19 world. 

This piece is structured in three parts – part 1 outlines likely strategic changes to the payor-provider landscape in the near- to medium-term; part 2 serves to remind the industry about what will likely NOT change in the long-term; finally, in light of parts 1 and 2, part 3 lays out six major actions payors and providers should take for a post-COVID-19 world.

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • Changes in the payor-provider landscape in the near- to medium-term
  • What will not change in the payor-provider landscape in the long-term
  • Actions payors and providers should take for success in a post-COVID-19 world

 

Read the full article, Six Actions U.S. Payors Providers Should Take for a Post COVID-19 World, on LinkedIn.

 

A Case for Randomized Testing

April 20, 2020

 

Tobias Baer explains why the lack of randomized testing hampers businesses and raises the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The lack of randomized testing again and again hampers businesses because it means executives need to make decisions half blind – and Covid-19 is no different, only that in the case of Covid-19, the cost of not doing randomized testing literally might run into the trillions of dollars.

Randomized testing is nothing new – and widely considered best practice in the business world:

 

  • Marketing executives should run A/B tests to make sure that ads and other marketing outlays actually influence purchasing decisions and isn’t wasted on customers who would have bought the product anyhow (or worse, even discourage buyers);
  • Banks and insurers randomly approve a small sample of credit or insurance applications rejected by their policy rules because otherwise they cannot know how many errors these rules make and if they lose any profitable business;
  • Online sellers use randomized pricing experiments to test how much more or less revenue and profit they would make by raising or lowering prices a bit.

 

Read the full article, Why Covid-19 illustrates once more the need for randomized testing: Paying the price for biased information, on LinkedIn.

 

Contagion Dynamics and the Economic Impact of COVID-19

 

Martin Pergler shares a couple of files on understanding COVID-19 contagion dynamics, and some of the tradeoffs of managing spread vs long term social/economic impact.

People seem to be increasingly internalizing and accepting efforts prudentially required to slow down COVID-19s exponential infection rates. And hopefully we’ll converge even more from the poles of “barricade ourselves behind hoarded toilet paper” and “what me worry, I don’t see a problem yet” behaviour. However, given differences in, and evolution over time of, testing and reporting around the world, we also need to get ahead of monitoring the evolution of the outbreak and its containment in different geographies. We’ve all seen the “buy time to flatten the curve” graphic many times by now, but I think we all hope we can minimize the area under the curve, not just flatten it.

With this in mind, I’m happy to see a paper on statistical time series modeling applied to localized contagion dynamics cross my desk, from Italy no less! Pretty technical in nature, and frankly there isn’t truly enough data to draw any actionable conclusions yet, but we’re going to need analysis of this type to be able to extrapolate sensibly going forward, and to judge to what extent containment approaches — including different intensities of social distancing — are working.

 

Read the full article, Coronavirus: monitoring change in contagion dynamics, and access links to the files on the Balanced Risk Strategies website. 

 

Life after COVID-19

 

Surbhee Grover takes a moment to think about the future and how the Coronavirus will change the way we work and live.

 

Our lives, as we’ve known them, have come to a grinding halt. What will the world look like when the music starts again?

In the time we are not obsessing with COVID-19 updates, or trying to revive the business; ensure availability of dog food (and wine), and survive homeschooling, some of us are starting to wonder what the future holds. Here’s my initial take on what comes after. These are not analytical forecasts, nor predictions – it is too soon for that, the data is too sparse, things are still too raw, and emotions too fickle. These are merely anecdote and observation-inspired musings, intended as stimulus to spark a discussion.

 

Key areas covered in this article:

  • Work from home culture
  • Education
  • Relationships
  • The benefits for dogs, the drawback for cats

 

Read the full article on LinkedIn.

Thoughts on the Corona Situation and Work

 

Stefan Falk has summarized some of the key talking points across some 50+ coaching sessions on the Coronavirus topic, and more specifically on how to keep the people in the client organizations mentally healthy and productive in this demanding situation.

 

  1. The nature of the mental challenge for people

 

Isolation

Since most people will work from home and not move around as usual due to the risk of being infected, and because many of our natural places for socializing (restaurants, events, gyms, etc.) are unavailable, the risk to experience unhealthy levels of anxiety among people is potentially big due to the following anxiety drivers:

– People will consciously and subconsciously sense that they have lost their freedom(s) and are restricted

– People risk be less physically active

– People will potentially be exposed to less sensory stimuli which can lead to sensory deprivation; mild forms of sensory deprivation leads to irritation, frustration, and unhealthy rumination. Severe forms can lead to aggressiveness and violence.

 

Fear

There are real and perceived threats in this situation that can drive fear and anxiety.

One threat is obviously the virus itself (the risks that I will be infected and the risks that my friends and loved ones will be infected). Another equally obvious and potential threat is job and financial security.

Uncertainty

Right now the areas and levels of uncertainty for what will happen are high, for example:

– Even if I follow the guidelines from the authorities, is there a risk that I or my loved ones can be infected anyway?

– How deadly is the virus?

– How will this situation affect my company and my job?

– What will happen to my life savings?

– Are authorities really on top of the situation?

– How long will this crisis last?

As we all know, the human mind cannot deal with uncertainties – it needs to know. In the absence of robust answers to these and other perceived uncertainties, the mind creates its own answers, which most often tend to be imbalanced and geared toward worst-case scenario-answers.

 

  1. How to deal with the situation

 

Secure a high level of healthy activity

Few things strengthen our mental well-being as good work since it both keeps our mind focused and away from ruminating about our situation as well as gives us a sense of accomplishment (which makes us feel strong and in control). Also, we experience high levels of well-being when we apply our mental energy to problem-solving. People should therefore try to strive to:

  • Make sure to spend time to plan their days to secure a good level and flow of their work activities. In terms of boosting mental energy and well-being, it is good if they also think in terms of the desired results they want from their work activities.
  • Make sure to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day – this could be broken down into 3 x 10 minutes; just 10 minutes of physical exercise, e.g., a brisk walk, gives us extra energy that lasts about 90 minutes.
  • Make sure to create a balance between routine and variety. It is good if people try to make each day different in terms of what they do or how they do things. It could be simple things like changing their morning routine, for example, what they do and in what order they do things. Variety can be an antidote to boredom and mild forms of sensory deprivation.

In addition to this, people should consider to rate each day on a scale 1-10 and then explain their rating with a sentence or two. This will help them strengthen their self-awareness as well as their sense of being in charge and in control.

 

Make sure leaders stay close to their people

For leaders, this situation could actually be an opportunity to get to know their people even better, since the main focus for a leader in this situation should be to make sure that their people stay sane, active and focused on the right things. And since telepathy is a “skill” most leaders don’t master, talking to their people should be the approach. And here the key is the frequency of these talks. Therefore, leaders could consider to:

  • Have brief daily check-ins in the morning or brief daily check-outs at end of the day, or both depending on the needs of their people.
  • In these check-ins and/or check-outs the leader, in general, should do less of the talking and instead ask questions and listen, for example, a) how does/did your day look? b) what are/were the most exciting results or insights you are looking for/achieved? c) what is the most interesting problem you will work on/worked on today?
  • Have a weekly team meeting where the team just share how they feel and what their most exciting results, insights and/or experiences have been the past week.

 

Identify and pursue “new” opportunities

There are a couple of opportunities that come to mind in this situation:

 

Improve people’s skills to have effective and efficient meetings

Having truly effective meetings is a common challenge for people even when those meetings happen face-to-face.

This challenge is even bigger when it comes to virtual meetings. There are a few things to consider in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of both virtual as well as face-to-face meetings:

  • There should be a tangible goal defined for the meeting, that is, what tangible results should the meeting lead to?
  • Each agenda topic should be defined in terms of how much time to spend on it and what concrete results should be achieved.
  • After discussing each topic, the next steps should be defined as well as what the tangible goal is with each next step.
  • The meeting material needs to be very clear, brief, and easy to understand, and circulated before the meeting.
  • Each participant needs to commit to reading the material before the meeting.
  • If a participant struggles to understand any of the meeting materials, he or she should try to reach out to the person responsible for the material before the meeting to get clarification. This is important in order to avoid having a meeting where people spend time understanding what they talk about or what they should talk about.

A good idea for leaders is to continuously ask their people what they learn about having virtual meetings, for example, what works well, what works less well, why, and what to do to fix it.

 

Go deeper, do things ahead of time, and/or explore new topics/issues

For some people, the situation we face could mean that they get some extra time due to less/no travel, fewer or shorter meetings, and/or that some priorities are pushed into the (uncertain) future. This then offers a couple of opportunities for them to consider:

  • Go deeper on the problems they currently work on than they usually do or solve issues that they usually have not had time to address, for example, an analysis that they do regularly that is very complicated to do and could be made easier.
  • Do things ahead of time, for example, things that they know they should do regardless of how long this crisis will last or how it will play out
  • Explore new areas or topics potentially important for their work, for example, spending time learning more about a new or current topic relevant to their work and that will also build their expertise