We Need Leaders

The importance of our role in this difficult moment is immeasurable. This is unprecedented, not just in severity, but in scope. It’s truly global. It is our responsibility to digest the current predicament and take important steps that can change the direction of our business. The consequences of this terrible pandemic can be minimized with organization, effort, and teamwork.

Leading Stefanini and those responsible for operations in North America and Asia, I gathered some tips and practices that have made a difference and allowed us to move a team of approximately 3000 employees from our offices to work from home. The equation of prioritizing the life and health of our employees without having an impact on the quality of the services we offer follow these criteria:

Fail fast and learn faster

Make decisions based on what you know now: try, figure out, learn and try again. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, then act quickly. It’s never too late to be early, so keep working to improve and prepare. In an evolving situation, even if you were behind the curve at first, you can still be ready for what’s next.

Stay ahead of the game – quickly ramping up a distributed team.

You’ve reviewed your Business Continuity Plans (BCPs)  and Disaster Recovery procedures (DRPs), and you have a plan in place. From a philosophical standpoint, you want to be as proactive and agile as possible. Global or Multinational enterprises had all their BCPs and DRPs heavily leveraged in their global footprint. In other words, companies always planned that if something happened within one GEO, they will use other GEO as a backup. Difficult was to imagine a situation of a Global Crisis like COVID-19 that has put all the plan in check.

Assess your tech infrastructure

Not just in-house, but at your employees’ homes, to ensure sufficient capacity and security protocols. From an operational standpoint, a priority needs to be centralizing decision-making, while delegating execution. Assess your tech infrastructure—not just in-house, but at your employees’ homes—to ensure sufficient capacity and security protocols.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Make sure your team is handling the change; too many people freeze in a crisis and wait for the information they need to come from someone else. Team leaders and middle managers can play a critical coordinating and collaborative role, making sure that the workflow is on track, but also connecting with employees.

Ensure human connection

Maintaining regular schedules and a sense of normalcy is helpful, and so is face time. Seeing each other—even if only on a screen—matters. It helps your team stay close, even when they are apart physically. Collaboration tools gain even more importance. Take advantage of it to make up for the physical distance, but ensure collaboration and be close to your team emotionally.

Being efficient while keeping everybody sane

Recognize that these are unusual circumstances and there are different ways to achieve your goals. Understand also that your people will respond differently. Pay attention to how they perform in these new circumstances.

People are still the defining difference

Some people will rise to the occasion and shine—proving that pressure makes diamonds, others will struggle. No matter how many processes you put in place, your people will still be the defining difference.

The new reality

Do not underestimate the changes that the latest events have brought and will continue to bring to the work environment. Nothing will be the same as before. We will understand these changes, work hard and – once again – make this crisis an opportunity.

COVID-19 brought us so many lessons learned, so many angles to see the corporations. This global crisis is forcing us all to revisit a lot of values. Is the importance of things remaining the same after COVID-19 Global Outbreak? Relations will be reevaluated both personal and commercial. Adaptation will be the name of the game and the ability to reshape mindset and organizations to the new reality will determine who is going to survive on the new global market.

*Spencer Gracias, Stefanini CEO for NA APAC

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