“I’m on a taskforce to determine what the future looks like, but everything changes day-to-day and week-to-week. There’s no clear target. Things are so unsettled, and we’re so exhausted from pivoting over and over again that we’re not sure where to turn next.”
We heard those words, in various forms, from a dozen different CEOs and business leaders in the last few months. The end of 2020 is in sight, but the pandemic’s end is not. We’re all making decisions with short shelf lives and uncertain impact.
Here are three ideas to prepare your company for a post-pandemic future:
1. Move from chaos to complexity
We’ve lived in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous environment for the last 9 months. It can feel like chaos, and no one operates at their best in those circumstances.
Instead of fighting against the future, reduce turmoil and create order where you can, helping bring your organization back to complexity, not chaos. For example, rather than spending months wondering when you’ll get back into the office, declare your work-from-home policy will last through Summer 2021. That removes uncertainty for people and allows them to plan their personal lives while also giving a foundation for making other business decisions.
2. Think “now, future, next”
Developing the capacity to think 10 years ahead is a muscle that has to be built. One way to start is to think about your personal life, rather than your business. You can be clear about where you want to be, even while you’re uncertain about the path to get there.
Investing time thinking about the long-term future also reminds you that the pandemic will end, eventually, and creates a sense of hope and energy about the ultimate outcome of your future.
3. Return to your strengths
Remember, you’ve faced tough circumstances before, and you have existing strengths, capacities, resources, and relationships that can help you succeed again.