Businesses have been dealing with the NOW, reshaping their businesses in the face of disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they are turning their attention to the NEXT—an era of Never Normal. Building agility across core competencies will be vital.

To navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have been prioritizing the NOW—supporting their people, customers and suppliers, responding to supply chain disruption and, most recently, reshaping their businesses to align with evolving demand and find new growth pathways. Now they are turning their attention to the NEXT. 

The NEXT, a period of unpredictable and possibly muted economic recovery, is expected to raise new competitive threats and opportunities at great speed. A return to pre-COVID business practices is unlikely; what’s coming is a decade of Never Normal—a new era defined by fast changing shifts in cultural norms, societal values and behaviors.

A key challenge is that it’s unclear, even as companies reopen their businesses, how the pandemic will play out. There are a range of potential scenarios.

Businesses have three key priorities: 

  • They need to be prepared to change course on a dime. Any steps taken to reopen should be easily reversible and scalable. 
  • They must provide a safe and secure work environment, communicating with their workforce transparently to build trust. 
  • Instead of reverting to old ways; they need to use reopening as an opportunity to create a better future for employees and customers. 

To outmaneuver uncertainty as they reopen their businesses, companies need a program of reinvention. They need to: 

  • Become more digital, data-driven, and in the cloud; 
  • Have more variable cost structures, agile operations and automation; and  
  • Create stronger capabilities in e-commerce and security.  

This agility will be core to the long-term capabilities they build.  

Focus on five key areas 

There are five areas companies need to address to build a program of active invention. Join me next time as I dig into how companies can ready themselves for a Never Normal future. 

In the meantime, for more on reopening and reinventing your business, take a look at 5 Priorities to Help Reopen and Reinvent Your Business. 

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