With no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses of all sizes are facing an extended period of uncertainty. But a panel of experts agreed there are some steps businesses can take to adjust and weather the future, as well as trends taking shape that businesses should watch.
That was the takeaway from Outmaneuvering uncertainty: Adapting for Success in the COVID-19 Business Climate, a webinar hosted by the GBC and Accenture October 19.
The webinar featured Paul Nunes, Global Managing Director of Thought Leadership, Accenture Research; Dr. Dawn Lindsay, President, Anne Arundel Community College; Michael Haynie, Founder, Maryland Center for Hospitality Training; Jayson Williams; Chief Executive Officer, Mayson-Dixon Companies and was moderated by Tawfik Jarjour, Senior Manager, Strategy, Accenture.
Among the top steps the panel agreed businesses should take:
- Keep employees safety and well-being, including their mental and physical health, a priority.
- Look for opportunities for your business to pivot outside of its traditional business model.
- Be agile so the business can correct course as the pandemic progresses and unpredictable conditions arise.
Nunes at Accenture outlined five operational steps businesses should consider to cope with the pandemic’s ongoing effect on businesses: Put people first; design spaces that work; solve in phases; commit to an elastic cost structure; and get future ready.
Lindsay said the community college adjusted to the pandemic by taking a number of creative steps, including shifting to remote learning, providing two weeks of intensive training in online teaching for staff, and working with the local health department to create safety training and programs.
Williams said after his business saw work contracts being put on hold by customers, he looked for new opportunities and using connections he’d made was able to start locating and supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Haynie recommended that businesses continue to do goodwill in community, which can broaden connections and lead to new business. He also said that “training and retraining” staff is crucial, including for safety.
Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, said the panel’s innovative approaches were “fascinating” and the lessons they shared “insightful.”
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