As Australia and New Zealand continues to reopen for business, companies need to stop bunkering down and start gearing up for growth, writes Access4 Managing Director, Tim Jackson
‘Things can only get better’ as pop band D: Ream famously sang back in the nineties. As 2022 draws near, it’s a sentiment that’s likely to resonate with Australian and New Zealand business leaders up and down the country.
After two years of unprecedented uncertainty and disruption, mass vaccination now promises to restore some semblance of normal life as once we knew it.
In order to move ahead and thrive in this environment, enterprises will need to abandon the survival mindset they’ve been forced to adopt of late and instead open themselves up to considered risk and growth.
Bunkered down for the duration
That will represent a step change for many. Since March 2020, when nationwide lockdowns threw Australia and New Zealand into a short but extremely sharp recession – its first in three decades – businesses and their leaders have generally behaved in one of three ways: they’ve adopted a defensive posture and done whatever it’s taken to stay afloat; they’ve gone into ‘hibernation’ mode and hoped for the best; or they’ve taken an opportunistic approach, grabbing any low hanging fruit that’s been there for the taking.
These can all be effective survival strategies when times are tough but none of them represents a recipe for long term business health.
So, how can business owners and leaders flip the switch and adopt a more positive mindset in 2022? Here are some tips for getting your organisation ready to embrace opportunities and growth in the new year.
Understand where you’re at now
While some enterprises have done well or very well throughout the pandemic, many have not. Whichever category yours falls into, taking stock of where it’s at today – however brutal and discouraging that may be – is the first step towards recovery and rejuvenation.
Remember your values
While the times may change, the reasons why you went into business probably haven’t altered all that much, global pandemic or not. Remembering your north star – the values your enterprise stands for and the customers it seeks to serve – should help shape your next set of decisions about how to drive it forward.
Delegate and elevate
Survival mode management is all about getting down in the weeds, making tactical decisions that address challenges in the here and now. Moving into thrive mode means setting that mentality aside and looking at the horizon – at where you’d like to see the business in two or five years’ time. Focusing on the big picture – talking to customers, setting goals and developing strategies to reach them – may require you to delegate some of the ‘small picture’ stuff to team members who can handle the operational details while you sort out the strategic.
Check your team
It’s easier to do that if you’re confident your team has what it takes to help the business succeed in the post-Covid era. Doing a talent audit will help you to determine whether you have the blend of skills, experience and personalities you need to tackle your targets. If there are gaps to plug, they’re best filled by people who exhibit passion and purpose for their roles, and whose values align with your own.
Growth strategies don’t usually work unless the entire workforce is committed. Getting everyone out of survival mindset and enthusiastic and invested in the future is impossible without good, frequent communication – about how the business is travelling, where it’s headed, how you’re going to get there and who needs to do what, to make it all happen. Augmenting regular whole-of-organisation meetings with one-to-one catch-ups with team members at least every 90 days is your best bet for ensuring everyone remains on board and on track.
Put metrics in place
It may feel like your team and business are getting their mojo back but without an objective means of measurement, it’s impossible to be sure. Devising metrics to determine whether you’re on target to hit your short and long term goals will allow you to gauge whether your business plans need to be revised or ramped up.
Best foot forward
Out of adversity comes opportunity. The past two years have provided plenty of the former and in 2022, it’s time for Australian and New Zealand businesses to seize the latter, with gusto. Adopting a positive mindset is the first step on the road to success. Let’s go!