The authors start by pointing out that through the crisis many companies have learned to become more efficient, working faster and better and that these strategies will be essential to retain as the world returns to the new normal.
“How can leaders avoid the impulse to abandon the progress they have made in shaping a more productive and competitive company profile? We believe the answer is a renewed focus on people and their capabilities. Only by advancing new cadres of adaptive, resilient leaders, as well as a middle bench fluent in technology that cuts across silos, will companies be able to work with the speed and impact necessary to further the broader transformation that has begun.“
The way to do this is simplification, prioritisation of talented resources and leaders who leverage personal energy and balance to enable and empower teams in new ways of working.
Put in tomorrow’s team today
In many organisations young leaders are adapting quickly and are many times more effective in new ways of working. The best are calm, resilient and adaptable people leaders. The most capable leaders identified were empathetic leaders who championed diverse talent.
“The learn-it-all does better than the know-it-all.”Satya Nadella, chief executive officer, Microsoft
Identify and elevate the handful of tangible business skills that matter most
Identifying the critical capabilities required for the future is an essential task right now. Being in the crisis by necessity draws leaders into tactical activities but you can not stop the strategic planning or your organisation will not anticipate the next shock or opportunity.
“what provisions do you have in place to encourage executives to sharpen their ability to adapt to uncertainty while maintaining strategic focus?”
Treat technological acumen as you treat profit targets
The authors speculate that COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation by unto 5 years and that will provide those who have adapted most effectively will be nimble, flexible and fast in applying cloud, analytics and data management technologies.
McKinsey Accelerate recommends that driving technological acumen into all executives and measuring proficiency in the same way as you track and measure profit.
Liberate teams to solve problems rapidly with rapid decision making
The usual slow speed of executive decision making and the associated bureaucracy has been removed during the crisis, this article recommends that unleashing the decision making process through structured prioritising using a common framework and final decision making by an empowered team (often the CEO, CFO and COO or head of Operations) the small group can quickly debate, narrow down the options and decide on final resource allocation targets.