Keep Calm and Adapt

Kerri Lawrence | April 5, 2020

COVID-19 has changed our way of life forever. Each day brings a rising toll number of deaths, continued increases in confirmed cases and ever-growing need for Government assistance. This combined with rapidly decreasing business sentiment, as per the latest Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey1, makes it clear that our futures will be marred by this event for many years to come, with some futurists even suggesting that the after effects of the pandemic could last well into the remainder of the 21st century2.

Social-distancing restrictions expected to strengthen again at some point, and more and more businesses will be faced with two options, either shutting their doors or pivoting to new ways of working. Those who will emerge faster and stronger from this crisis will be adaptive, taking their opportunities as they arise and planning for a new paradigm.

Successful organisations both large and small will become outcomes focussed. They will prioritise and sequence; creating and implementing action plans to address their immediate needs, while simultaneously setting up program teams to design a new business model that can quickly respond to the evolving situation and beyond.  

Successful organisations will transform delivery mechanisms that are adaptive to the current constraints and use this new knowledge to help shape a sustainable future business model.

Successful organisations will have the discipline to be single minded about outcomes, be clear in defining task responsibility and have effective governance that drives accountability.

Successful organisations will redefine work from where we go to what we achieve.

The transformational power of adaptive organisations is already on display; high end restaurants now offering meal-box services and home delivery, health care professionals offering remote consultations and schools providing distance education via face to face group chat applications such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In each instance, the focus on a continuation of the outcome, as opposed to the traditional delivery mechanism.  

We have been catapulted into a new realm in every way possible.  Despite the most informed estimates and learned opinions, we cannot know the full affect COVID-19 will have on our lives and the temptation for business will be to withdraw, consolidate and hope this passes quickly.

Successful organisations, however, will see the opportunity to redefine their operating models, plan beyond the immediate crisis and position themselves to emerge stronger than ever.  Successful organisations will embrace adaptability.

Kerri Lawrence, 5 April 2020


Other articles in this series are Keep Calm and Transform and Keep Calm and Communicate.  See key information and data on the COrona VIrus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19).





1. Roy Morgan March 2020 SMS Snap Survey

2. Brisbane Times 28 March 2020