Planning for the Unplanned – Cultivating Resilience & innovation during a crisis

How do you prepare for something you couldn’t possibly predict?  If there is one thing the current pandemic has taught it is that crisis recovery plans may be good in theory but often fall short in execution.  But the question remains, why?

You have done your due-diligence and had all the necessary governance models in place to quickly deploy your plan but the uptake seems to be lacking.

The answer lies in the fact that by the time a crisis has formed, responding to it effectively is often a function of your underlying organizational capabilities and strengths.  These capabilities and strengths are cultivated in absence of a desperate necessity to react to fundamental shifts in the market.  

The organizations that appear to be thriving in today’s environment recognized the need to be performing at a level of optimal agility even prior to the current pandemic.

So how do we cultivate resilience and innovation during a crisis? Here are our top tips:

  • Be willing to acknowledge the unknowns – forging ahead with pre-existing strategies is akin to operating devoid of reality.  If you need to rethink a launch or pause an existing campaign, acknowledge the realities of the situation with transparency. 
  • Cultivate new operating norms – Model and encourage the development of new operating norms that are aligned to market realities.  Promote open dialogue with all levels of the organization and be willing to leverage a ‘test and learn’ approach to navigating the ‘new norm’.
  • Encourage a ‘test and learn’ mindset – encourage curiosity, experimentation, and taking calculated risks.  Allow for open dialogue and create a ‘safe zone’ to enable employees to freely express views on new working processes and ideas without fear of retribution.
  • Destigmatize the concept of ‘failure’ – in order to encourage innovation in both thinking and design we must rethink the concept of ‘failure’.  Attempts at innovation must be rewarded and recognized as an important step to the path of mastery.
  • Reward Co-creation – innovation is often the byproduct of collaboration.  Encourage unsiloed approaches to solutioning that do not confine ideas to the boundaries of individual departments.
  • Amplify your strengths – Leverage, profile and learn from the existing strengths of the team

Have some tips for us?  We would love to hear how you and your organization have responded to operating in our new environment.  Contact us @

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