For many, the toughest leadership test is now looming: how to bring a business back in an environment where  vaccine has yet to be found and economies are still reeling.

There are four strategic areas to focus on.

  1. Rapidly recover revenue.

Speed matters: it will not be enough for companies to recover revenues gradually as the crisis abates. They will need to fundamentally rethink their revenue profile, to position themselves for the long term and to get ahead of the competition. To do this companies must SHAPE up.

  1. Rebuilding operations.

The coronavirus pandemic has radically changed demand patterns for products and services across sectors, while exposing points of fragility in global supply chains and service networks. At the same time, it has been striking how fast many companies have adapted, creating radical new levels of visibility, agility, productivity, and end-customer connectivity. Now leaders are asking themselves: How can we sustain this performance?

  1. Rethinking the organization.

Call it the “great unfreezing”: in the heat of the coronavirus crisis, organizations have been forced to work in new ways, and they are responding. Much of this progress comes from shifts in operating models. Clear goals, focused teams, and rapid decision making have replaced corporate bureaucracy. Now, as the world begins to move into the post-COVID-19 era, leaders must commit to not going back. The way in which they rethink their organizations will go a long way in determining their long-term competitive advantage.

Specifically, they must decide who they are, how to work, and how to grow.

  1. Accelerate digital adoption to enable reimagination.

During the early recovery period of partial reopening, business leaders will face some fundamental challenges. One is that consumer behavior and demand patterns have changed significantly and will continue to do so. Another is that how the economy lurches back to life will differ from country to country and even city to city. For example, consumers may feel comfortable going to restaurants before they will consider getting on a plane or going to sporting events. Early signals of increased consumer demand will likely come suddenly, and in clusters. Analyzing these demand signals in real time and adapting quickly to bring supply chains and services back will be essential for companies to successfully navigate the recovery.

To address these challenges, leaders will need to set an ambitious digital agenda—and deliver it quickly, on the order of two to three months, as opposed to the previous norm of a year or more.

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