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Disruption has been the name of the game in business since the turn of the millennium. Years of disruption due to technology have culminated in the COVID-19 crisis, the biggest globally disruptive event in recent history.

In this extremely volatile landscape, good leadership has been essential. And yet as the world emerges into an unprecedented reality post-pandemic, business continuity grows ever more challenging. As such, industries need to reinvent themselves in new creative ways to ensure long-term sustainability and continued growth.

According to multinational professional services firm Deloitte, business continuity management covers infrastructure, cyber, employee, business, operational and communication risks, with the aim of managing an organization that has to face new challenges and risks and wants to ensure continuity of operations and production.

Typically, the firm explained in a report titled “Workforce Strategies for Post-COVID Recovery”, crises have three time frames in which companies can deal with: Respond, where current survival and continuity is most important; Recover, where lessons are learned and strategy changes are implemented; and Thrive, in which the company prepares for the future based on these changes.

As the world emerges from the impact of COVID-19, organizations now must shift their focus to the challenges of the recovery stage.

“It is important to realize that recovery won’t be static. It will not occur on a specific date,” Deloitte said in the report.

“Organizations must prepare for different outcomes of the pandemic — mild, harsh, or severe — and recognize that the recovery should be adaptable to different situations within different countries and industries worldwide.”

The report suggested that business leaders should think of the recovery process as a spectrum of options, wherein they must ask how they can integrate changes in their workforce, what services could be added or changed, or what other operations could be maintained in a remote capacity.

“The recovery process adopted by each organization will serve as a bridge between the response — how it dealt with the immediate demands of the crisis — and what its future will look like — in the new normal,” the report said.

Deloitte recommended workforce-related strategies in the recovery to be orchestrated through five critical actions: Reflect, Recommit, Re-engage, Rethink, and Reboot. These actions can help organizations bridge the crisis response to the new normal by laying the foundation to thrive in the aftermath of the crisis.

Only by internalizing the lessons learned from crises past can organizations lay the groundwork for future growth. Greg Kelly, senior partner at McKinsey and Company, expounded on this sentiment in the inaugural episode of global management consultancy’s new Future of America podcast, discussing how leading companies can use growth to drive sustainability and promote genuine inclusion.

“Our research shows that you’re more likely to grow better and faster if you pursue growth in multiple dimensions. Growth in your core, growth in adjacencies, growth in geographies, and to do so with multiple levers,” Mr. Kelly said.

He said that companies are much more likely to outperform if they have a well-defined core business, and growing in those categories, in their core market, because there are always new opportunities to be found, and moving to adjacent businesses can allow the company to apply their strengths in new ways.

“And then you’re also growing in additional geographies and doing that with a wider variety of capabilities with innovation and a focus on your core categories, your core customers, and then you’re finding even better ways to meet your customer needs,” he said.

“Frequently, that requires better innovation. Also, it can be connecting more digitally, connecting with better marketing. We talk about full-funnel marketing, which is the brand-building marketing as well as the performance marketing. So connecting with better capabilities and then also pursuing growth inorganically through mergers and acquisitions. We find that the growth outperformers use those multiple levers to drive growth. But again, it all starts with that growth mindset. The leaders with that growth mindset grow twice as high as those without it.”

Leaders who possess that mindset, and the drive to pursue such aspirations through multiple capabilities, are more likely to succeed in challenging environments, he added.

“Whether that’s improving their innovation capability, their digital connections, or what we call full-funnel marketing, which is both brand-building and performance-oriented marketing, and those that are thoughtful about how acquisitions can help accelerate their progress — those are the [companies] that outperform. So that second key is pursuing multiple levers. And third, holding themselves accountable for the ‘and,’ for driving inclusion and sustainability and growth.” — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran