5 defining trends to get to the next phase

The COVID-19 recovery phase continues to ramp up, both in our personal and professional lives. Even after the pandemic became the new normal, our world has been full of changes, bursting with business transitions, overflowing with lifestyle transformations and packed with new workplace protocols. Here are five key trends to help leadership navigate a successful transition to what’s next.

Remote in recovery

In the beginning, businesses struggled to find their footing with Zoom calls. Now that remote work is the default, offices can continue to reopen while implementing options based on their needs. The remote structure worked for many; while we still held in-person meetings, many groups were able to work remotely.

Now that I see the pros of flexible working, I attend both in-person and virtual meetings. It’s crucial to get back to pre-COVID efficiency and keep digital innovation top of mind instead of catching up. That may include reshaping the workspace with a hybrid structure, flexible in-office work hours, or a job-by-job approach.

Transparency matters

The pandemic made our companies keep in touch more than ever. That open and accessible communication from leadership to every employee was essential for engaging our workforce in transitioning and maintaining our culture. That shouldn’t change. Transparency gains trust and lets employees know they’re not alone outside office hours. Connect in one-on-one meetings, outings, or town hall events to share information and keep an open dialogue. Transparency builds a bridge no matter where people are and creates a healthy team dynamic and support system to do better work and keep employees satisfied.

Acclimate, adjust and adapt

I’ve seen companies that have reinvented themselves not only fare better but make the most of trying times. The reason some have succeeded comes from a tomorrow vision with a today mindset. Recognizing what changes can be made by acknowledging outside circumstances creates a sense of company control. We can take something as disastrous as the pandemic and learn from the opportunities of social innovations and experiments to better ourselves for the future no matter what comes next.

Rethink your positioning

Strategy is everything. Executing successfully based on a flawed strategy gets you nowhere. Retooling your business plan will help redefine your customer experience, restructure products and reset expectations. Maybe that means moving your supply chain closer to your headquarters or advancing your digital strategy to the top of your priorities. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but note what has worked and what needs to be addressed. As we begin to understand the changes, we can go beyond maintaining the status quo and take on new customer needs.

Prioritize people

People, not policies, keep companies moving forward. It’s been tough not knowing what’s next, which has taken a toll. But a great leader stays cool under pressure. As a college quarterback, it was my job to be open to change, adapt when necessary and motivate teammates. Great leaders inform and support their workforce to remain competitive and compelled to work, even in unknown settings.

Economies are reeling in the aftermath of COVID, and putting people first can make all the difference for your company to go from simply surviving to thriving.

Matt Kaulig is executive chairman of Kaulig Cos. Ltd.