Companies are making significant changes to their business from one day to the next because of rapidly changing conditions in the marketplace. They’re preparing both for the possibility that normalcy might return and that there will be further disruptions. Either way, change is inevitable. That means staying focused and being nimble enough to adjust course quickly.
Smart Business spoke with Kurt Kappa, Chief Lending Officer at First Federal Lakewood, about how leaders can stay on top of fast-changing market forces and keep their organizations poised to respond.
What are some of the keys to keeping pace with changes in the market?
It’s important for leaders continue to stay in front of their team. They need to make sure team members are actively engaged, using video calls, weekly huddles to catch up, sending congrats emails when a project wraps. The more communication the better.
The way business is conducted may not be the same. More interactions are going to happen online, which for some businesses means infrastructure needs to be addressed and improved. That could also entail shifting resources and dollars. There will likely be changes to the way companies share their message to customers and prospects. And in some cases, companies’ distribution networks are going to be different. All of this is going to require shifts in internal responsibilities, strategies, external relationships, budgeting and more.
CEOs and top-tier management need to review and adjust their strategy. They need to look at where they started off the year, what their plans were, and what transpired over the last three to four months. Then, they can re-evaluate and readjust their budget and focus for the year. That means determining where organizational focus should be and how to redeploy resources to that end.
Where should company leaders turn for perspective?
Industry trade groups are a good resource for outside advice. Leaders from many companies are able to discuss the challenges everyone is seeing across the country and how they’re addressing them.
CPAs are also great partners because they’re intimately involved with the financial aspect of the current situation. They’re seeing what’s going on both at a company and industry level. Similar to a trade group, accountants are both aware of the macro issues and how individual companies are handling them.
Because companies need to lean on their advisers more than ever, now is the time to ensure the right team is in place. Accountants and bankers are both seeing different aspects of the challenges in the market, so it’s a good idea to bring them in to get their perspective on how best to address the challenges.
How does a company balance making the right short-term moves without hurting itself in the long term?
There could be a tendency toward knee-jerk reactions as companies focus on the bottom line. While it’s necessary to take a shorter-term approach to get through the immediate challenges, companies should not lose sight of their long-term plans. It’s important to stay nimble enough to navigate the current challenges while keeping an eye toward the overall strategy.
Earlier this year, some businesses may have been considering making an acquisition, or possibly selling the company or some of its assets. But, conditions have changed drastically. It’s important to take into consideration the current environment and how acting on these previously planned moves may help or hurt the long-term vision.
Change is inevitable. Today, it’s happening at a faster pace than ever. That makes communication critical. Leaders should look to their advisers for advice and keep the long term in mind as short-term changes are made.
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