The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a new set of acute shocks to seemingly sturdy businesses and principles that have guided our thinking for decades.
In this backdrop, which has now reached a new critical, ‘Riding the Storm’, a complimentary webinar organised by The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in Sri Lanka, held recently reflected upon how businesses and people could transform today’s struggles towards tomorrow’s triumphs. This was an initiative by the CIMA Member Development Committee.
With the central question in every meeting being, how to grapple with the unparalleled consequences, the distinguished speakers, Boonsiri Somchit FCMA, CGMA, Chief Operating Officer of Xtrategize Technologies and Tony Ong, Chief Executive Officer of Xtrategize Technologies; well respected business evangelists, brought new insights on mapping out new dimensions and avenues of survival, through this webinar. The session was moderated by Sunela Samaranayake ACMA, CGMA, Head of Corporate Finance, Asia Capital PLC and a member of the CIMA Member Development Committee.
As the economic impacts are significant, businesses are in the process of understanding, reacting to, and learning lessons from rapidly unfolding events, while the storm provokes further unanticipated twists and turns, leaving all businesses with a choice; the choice of how one would wish to react and whether one chooses to overcome these struggles. Boonsiri shared three simple steps that can be followed; that is, by focusing on the elements that be controlled, asking for and receiving support, and preparing the resources to get through the storm.
Fisher’s Personal Transition Curve, 2012, which illustrates the stages of personal change, was used as a reference for employees, for managers and organisations, helping employees to deal with personal change. Tony emphasised that the first step would involve positioning your employees and organisation on the curve, and then applying varying approaches to ensure an effective and painless transition.
Boonsiri and Tony further highlighted that it is vital to develop resilience within the organisation by cultivating positive habits, such as, embracing uncertainty. They went on to reflect on the fact that it is impossible for one to predict all dimensions of what could go wrong, therefore, they emphasised on the importance of spreading positive vibes and thoughts, being futuristic while always reminding each other that every action moves you one step closer to your goal. As individuals, this is the time to take control of your life by setting intentions, allowing those to set your path, imagine the outcomes, and think of actions that will get you there.
Boonsiri defined the resilience equation as a combination of coping, emotional intelligence, grit and sense; which forms the growth mindset. Within this framework they also encouraged the audience to develop GRIT (Guts, Resilience, Intention and Tenacity) which entails perseverance and passion for long term goals.
For businesses, it’s important now more than ever to digitise, engage in opportunities to collaborate with other businesses and enter into strategic partnerships with professional bodies which can support your business. Another key change for businesses is to understand cash flows and manage working capital requirements while promoting collaboration over completion, building and strengthening relationships with potential clients, and exploring new markets for diversification.
Managing ourselves in times of crisis was further discussed, highlighting that it is time to ‘reinvent yourself’ by gaining your basic skills which could be management experience, speaking or financial skills. The next step that was prescribed was to assess your skills to ensure you have what it takes to be accountable and by being creative to create your own job if nothing fits your skills.
Self-care too should not be neglected, as Boonsiri shared her views on the need for exercise, meditation, and good sleep for all individuals, while organisations must contribute towards creating a good workspace, planning an effective day for teams, scheduling talk time with each employee and upskilling, concurrently.
Both speakers echoed that a new norm for businesses and individuals is on the horizon and all ‘storms and rainy days make us appreciate the sunshine better’.