Managing a crisis through response, recovery and reimagination.
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Response, Recovery, Reimagination

We’ve created a 3-part article series for mid-sized to large organizations to survive in the interim, endure the next 3 to 12 months and reimagination of their business strategy. Phase 1: Response, phase 2: Recovery, phase 3: Reimagination. If you have not read part 1- Response, click here. If you have not read part 2: Recovery, click here.

In this article, we will be sharing our process for reimagining how organizations operate in a market with changing demands. As states begin to open up, organizations can go from surviving to thriving. We will provide an overview of each step of the process.

The traditional approach to strategy begins with an internal and external current state assessment. The external examination includes analyzing the industry, economy, competitors, consumer behavior, and trends. The internal examination includes reviewing current org design, historical performance, strategic positioning, and more. As a result of the analysis, organizations can often feel confident in their predictions. However, executives too often underestimate uncertainty.

And, that’s under ‘normal’ circumstances. We are not under ‘normal’ circumstances and we likely will not be under ‘normal’ circumstances a year from now. So, we must develop the organization’s strategy under uncertainty and create resilience in our organizations. However, if we really think about it uncertainty has always been here. It just may have not impacted your organization until now.

Reimagine how an organization competes
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We’ve been here before…… uncertainty is the only thing that is certain.

In 2005, Katrina came crashing upon Louisana’s shores causing immediate and significant damage. Thousands of people lost their jobs and were forced to move to other cities. Oil production and refining operations shut down for weeks. Gasoline prices soared, along with other energy prices. It took New Orleans’ business community a long time to recover.

In 2011, GM had to halt production in some plants. Ford was running out of paint. Their supply chain was disrupted and they were wading through waist-deep uncertainty. Why? Japan’s earthquakes had wiped out or stopped thousands of businesses. Directly impacting their supply chain.

With that said, Coronavirus isn’t just one or two cities or one or two countries. It’s wrapping the globe. But, like all other events, this too, shall pass and what will be left is a little different environment for organizations to operate in. Essentially, volatility and uncertainty affecting financials and growth are not new. However, the organization’s ability to be prepared, responsive, and agile under these conditions is becoming increasingly important.

26 million Americans have applied for unemployment but twice that number is vulnerable according to McKinsey

McKinsey, the world’s leading strategy consulting firm, estimated in early April 53 million jobs would be impacted. Meaning, 53 million jobs were subject to permanent layoffs, temporary furloughs, or reductions in hours or pay. As time progressed, their estimates have grown to 57 million vulnerable U.S. jobs and 59 million in Europe, UK, and Switzerland.

Furthermore, McKinsey pointed out the U.S. did not regain the number of jobs lost in the Great Recession of 2008-2014. There is fear this could happen again with the rise of technology, AI, and Robotics. There is no way around it, our economy is going to be impacted. The future will be different and organizations will need to reimagine their strategy to compete and win in the world.

Strategy Defined

Our hope is companies come back stronger than before and to do that we believe leaders and their teams will need to reimagine their business model and strategy. More than 80% of strategies failing to demonstrate performance improvement or fail to launch at all! So, let’s get clear on what is strategy. Stratavize defines strategy as an organization’s positioning and chosen path to reach its best- envisioned future, it’s a framework for making decisions.

What does “being strategic” mean? Being strategic means consistently making those core directional choices that support your positioning and will move you towards that best-envisioned future. To learn more about Stratavize’s specific approach and framework for facilitating a strategy design process click here.

Reimagining Your Organization’s Strategy

In unprecedented uncertainty, your ability to make predictions, forecast trends, and foresee the roadblocks is harder. Bottom line, its harder to look around the corner and plan accordingly when you are not sure what to expect. Do you think, even the largest corporations, like Delta Airlines or Marriott, predicted COVID-19 coronavirus? No. However, they must adjust their strategy (their path to their best-envisioned future) to ensure sustainability in 2020 and beyond.

Companies will need to reimagine from end-to-end their organization’s business model and operations. The Future-Focused Team can be leveraged for this phase 3 work by transitioning from recovery to reimagination. Here at Stratavize, we’ve changed approach to strategy creation by digging deeper into these 5 areas of impact. As part of the strategy design and reimagination phase, we will not only take our visual and collaborative approach to strategy but, we will further examine these areas.

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Areas of Impact


The impact on our workforce has been wide-ranging. Your organization may have shifted employees to remote working, added protection equipment, empowered them to serve customers in a new and dynamic way, or unfortunately had to furlough some. Depending on your organization and industry, your workplace go-forward strategy might include changes to recruiting, onboarding, employee engagement, and benefits. Additionally, there are other dimensions worth evaluating including; tools for active team collaboration, virtual work policies, sick leave policies, new travel restrictions, and more. We anticipate that the crisis will fundamentally alter how we work and engage. Leaders should develop a comprehensive workplace plan that addresses these dimensions.

The COVID-19 crisis ushers in a new paradigm for reskilling. First, physical distancing causes traditional formats to be replaced online, calling for creativity in delivering effective training (specifically for soft skills, such as teamwork). Second, rapid reskilling and cross-training so employees can make pivots to new positions with ease.

To upskill or not upskill is no longer a question. There’s too much evidence that supports those organizations that invest in their people have a stronger culture, greater innovation, and higher workplace productivity. One reality is clear: increases in automation, changes in demographics, and economic uncertainty will make it harder to attract and retain talent. Organizations will have to grow their workforce capabilities from within and possibly doing it in new and creative ways.


The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has forced many companies to move at an unprecedented pace. Unfortunately the customer has felt the negative impacts of this break neck speed of change. For example, social distancing forced many banks to close their branches resulting in an increase in digital services. However, customers ended up on long hold times, many lack quality chat functionality and some community banks do not have 24 hour support to answer questions about debit cards.

Part of the process of reimagining how the organization will operate in the coming years will require a close examination of the customer experience. Areas of opportunity for improving the customer’s experience may include; communication and responsiveness, service delivery, digital tools, and automation. The bottom line, organizations need to purpose-driven, meet customers where they are, and tailor experiences to the customer’s needs.


There is much speculation as to how human behavior will change based on this experience. As time passes we will learn what are short-term buying behaviors and what behaviors are here to stay. In other words, will people continue to stock up on toilet paper? Probably not. However, will air travelers have different expectations of Delta, American Airlines, and others? Likely. Will consumers continue to buy in bulk? Maybe. If we fast forward to Thanksgiving and Black Friday, should we expect to see fewer people shopping in person? Possibly. Other considerations; will consumers continue to embrace telehealth as an option. What is the risk to healthcare organizations when using this method?

There are many unknowns when it comes to long-term consumer demand, behaviors, and trends. However, exploring the behaviors and trends associated with your business or industry will ensure your organization is prepared.


PWC recently polled US CEOs and more than 80% will pursue operational efficiencies. That means investing in and improving systems. We know businesses are currently operating in a new reality which has put pressure on their systems like supply chain, changes in customer touchpoints, unavailability of resources, and gaps in business continuity protocols. In some industries, there has been a surge in volume creating a strain on limted staffing.

Based on Accenture Consulting’s research, most companies are already starting with a significant gap in systems resilience. In 2019, Accenture conducted a vast survey of 8,300 companies that revealed only a small minority have cracked the code on systems resilience. What we’ve found working with clients is the technology isn’t being leveraged to the fullest extent. Now is the time to accelerate and fully leverage digital channels.

Supply Chain

We’ve learned a lot about supply chain disruption with Covid-19! In some industries, we’ve witnessed a complete breakdown in the supply chain. As a result, there is a need for organizations to create long-term resilience in their value chains. This means taking a holistic approach to managing the supply chain and ensuring complete transparency. The supply chain capacity of the future should consider: flexibility, increase technology, and applied analytics, AI, and machine learning.

Here are some of the ways we can help clients in phase 3 – Reimagination

  • reimagining the vision and future of the organization
  • strategy creation
  • strategy activation
  • improve employee engagement in strategy execution
  • helping explore and uncover additional vulnerabilities in the 5 areas of impact

Framework To Reimagination

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The Future-Focused Team can pull together the information needed to help the organization reimagine the employee and customer experience, using reporting and data to drive the systems and supply discussion. Use the framework above as a guide to launch this work. The Reimagination phase cannot be completed in an afternoon but, it also cannot drag on for months. Business, as usual, will not work either, the optics have changed too much.

If your organization needs help implementing phases 1, 2, 3 or any further assistance, contact us today for a quote. You can email or call 765-914-2847.

To learn more about Stratavize visit our website.

About the Author – Lauralee Hites

I have more than a decade of experience in managing projects that reduce risk to organizations. Today, I operate a boutique consulting firm that specializes in Strategy and Management Consulting. You can always drop me a line at or call me at 765-914-2847.

Finally, follow Stratavize on these social platforms FacebookTwitterInstagram, or LinkedIn @Lauralee Hites and Stratavize’s LinkedIn business page.   Interested in learning more about how Stratavize serves our clients? Check out what our clients have to say here.

If your organization needs help implementing phase 1 or further assistance, contact us today for a quote. You can email or call 765-914-2847.

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