We don’t know what the working world will look like after Corona, but we know one thing for sure – it will be different. Maybe it’s not all that important what exactly the world will look like. In any case, there is a chance that something completely new will emerge.
After a short time, when the most necessary things were organized, we had to deal with fundamental questions – and this laid the foundation for new things. While changes such as the growth in e-commerce were obvious, there are much more complex issues that are not so easy to recognize today. For managers, it will depend on new and changed skills if they want to be successful in the post-Corona era.
1.Recognize signals – be sensitive
Trying to run your company permanently so that it is prepared for the unlikely event of a crisis like Corona would certainly be wrong. However, there have been signals for a long time that our economic system will and must change. The contradiction between infinite growth and climate change, digitization as a new industrial revolution and Generation Z, who have different ideas about career and work-life balance, have been signals for a long time that this will not go on forever.
Crisis management will have a lot to do with becoming sensitive to the detection of weak signals. This increases your own willingness to perceive and enables you to draw the right conclusions in good time. The tasks of executives in the post-Corona period will not only relate to the classic topics of “regular operations”, but increasingly also to the future. However, foresight and future viability are not classic management tools. Therefore they require continuity and inspiration until they become a fundamental character trait of managers.
2. Resilience – accepting things
In the past, many organizations have supposedly secured their future viability by further perfecting their established approach. The Corona crisis has also impressively shown you that success can fail – even if you strictly follow this approach. And this ultimately leads to the fact that both the organization and the people involved can no longer cope with the complexity of the issues. Then even shorter meeting cycles and even more reports and data will not be successful. Rather, confident ways of thinking and acting when dealing with uncertainty and risks are required in management. And the understanding that resilience and strength cannot only be achieved by increasing output.
In uncertain times and volatile economic cycles, it is understandable that organizations are trimmed for efficiency and structure – but often this way also leads into a dead end. Visions of how we can safely shape the future of our organization do not arise because we ask ourselves where we could have performed even better in the past. Nor do they arise from the fact that we forget the Corona crisis as a one-off event. Rather, we have to develop the ability to ask ourselves questions about coping with the changes that are about to take place in the world – and this is fundamentally different from the classic performance orientation.
3. Future working models – be realistic
Corona has shown what many of us never thought possible – within a very short time, “the entire world” was transferred to the “home office”. It turned out that companies sometimes had to go through severe learning curves. And that the winners were those who had already done their homework in the areas of corporate culture, knowledge management, and digital infrastructure. How teams were able to work together despite spatial isolation was on the one hand a question of the infrastructure. But also the attitude of executives to the topics of leading at a distance and leading virtual teams. In addition to the classic leadership qualities such as result orientation, goal pursuit, trust and tolerance, managers are particularly in demand for other issues in these times. In these times, the people who work for the company primarily need support, so that work and private life can be reconciled and there is no social isolation.
Many companies are currently working feverishly on working models for the post-Corona period. Things are being tried out and approved that were previously unthinkable. And that’s a good thing! The lockdown quickly made it clear that we can work from home, but also what we need the office for and what not. The office of the future will be designed differently after the Corona crisis – the discussion about what modern offices can do, what individual employees need for their productivity and which characteristics managers will use to support cooperation will be decisive for our working environment of the future .
4. Shaping relationships – being authentic
Mission statements, code of conduct, corporate culture – such employer branding activities are usually launched with a small ceremony. The Corona crisis has shown in many places what these glossy brochures are worth. Because especially in trying times it becomes clear that these programs don’t just have to sound good when all is well. And this will become even more important after the crisis. The changed digital work environment will bring out one thing more and more – team spirit. The time after Corona will leave less space for lone wolves, because companies will only do well if those affected are doing well. And these are customers, partners, employees and also managers.
This also applies to each and every one of us, because in times of crisis we humans show above all humanity, trust, and willingness to cooperate. After Corona, people will therefore not only remember how we overcame the crisis, but also with whom. And with whom we want to shape our future.
5. Courage and a pioneering spirit – be flexible
Pragmatic ideas, unusual paths and short reaction times are decisive factors in these eventful times. Relying only on known processes and behavior patterns can have serious consequences. That is why in times of crisis it is less the organizational structure than the management culture that is decisive. With flexibility, freedom, and trust in the competence of the employees, managers are now setting the right impulses. The changes in our fast-paced world are sometimes unpredictable and surprising – and can therefore be mastered with reaction patterns that are suitable for such challenges. That is why we need courage and a pioneering spirit in the post-Corona era.
The Corona crisis made clear that one should never feel safe and that there are no companies who are not at risk. Anyone who wants to emerge stronger from the crisis must above all be willing and confident to actively shape the future. In this sense, the crisis also brings with it a spirit of optimism and fresh ideas for bold decisions. It is important that it is in our own hands to go in the right direction – this is the real challenge for managers in times of crisis.
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