Since mid-March, most business leaders have been forced to run their companies in ways many of them never imagined. Businesses have been forced to operate remotely, virtually, digitally and with great agility, and to do it all seemingly overnight. The lesson here is not what temporary initiatives companies adopted. The pandemic has launched a fundamental change in the way business will be conducted from this point forward.
A study from a researcher at University College London suggested it takes 66 days for a behavior to become a habit. If that is the case, then people and the businesses they work for have had more than enough time to develop COVID-19 habits. How we are currently running our businesses and how we interact with our customers is no longer a temporary anomaly. We are now fully ingrained in habitual pandemic behavior. There is no going back on many of these new operating methods.
Start Looking for Permanent Solutions
So those people who are longing for the day when we can return to “normal” are kidding themselves. We will never return to a full pre-COVID-19 world. Trying to put temporary solutions into your company solely to address the virus is a waste of time. Successful business leaders need to be looking ahead and understanding what a post-COVID 19 economy looks like and begin taking those “temporary changes” and making them permanent.
Kate Smaje, a senior partner with McKinsey & Company was recently quoted, stating “[T]he crisis has forced every company into a massive experiment in how to be more nimble, flexible, and fast.” The whole world was on track to become more innovative and more digital. The pandemic just took that change and put it on steroids.
“[The] fundamental reality is that the accelerating speed of digital means we are increasingly living in a winner-take-all world. But simply going faster isn’t the answer. Rather, winning companies are investing in the tech, data, processes, and people to enable speed though better decisions and faster course corrections based on what they learn.” — Katie Smaje, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Co.
4 Common Characteristics of the Winners in this Digital Race
So, how do you know if your habits are the right ones? McKinsey highlighted the common characteristics of companies leading the way in this digital race. As a contractor, keep these four tips in mind as your construction company looks to navigate challenges.
- Speed: Leading companies operate faster than their peers. McKinsey found that the best companies reallocate talent and capital four times faster that their competitors.
- Reinvention: Business as usual is one of the most dangerous attitudes companies can adopt. Winners are not just updating their current structures, but constantly eliminating old ways of doing things, innovating and creating new, more profitable operations.
- Confidence: The best companies have invested in technology and people. They use data to make big, bold decisions and stick to those decisions because they know they are right.
- Customer Focus: All companies claim to be customer centric, but the truly successful companies, the ones that can sustain a comprehensive focus on the customer, have been shown to generate significant returns (20-50%) on their investment.
At LaborChart, we have been early adopters. We made decisions in March and early April to address the coronavirus situation, but those decisions were made with a focus on the next year, not the next month. As always, our focus on the customer has guided us through this process at every turn. It is much easier to make a decision when there’s only one question: “Is it good for our customers?”
Whenever the world begins to emerge from this COVID-19-focused environment, we hope you have spent the time and invested in those areas that will ensure your success. Improving your digital infrastructure and being comfortable getting rid of old, antiquated methods of doing business should be at the top of your list. Because it has always worked, is not a guarantee of even medium success in 2021 and beyond.