A computer science post-graduate from the Indian Institute of Science with experience in Digital transformation using Mobility, Analytics, Industrial IoT and Artificial intelligence, Sandeep Goel has over 21 years of experience in setting up, managing, acquiring, and integrating businesses. He has extensive leadership experience of working across diverse industry verticals like investment banking, FMCG, CPG and process manufacturing.
The COVID19 pandemic has sharpened some of the most fundamental questions on what it means for enterprises to lead? The impact of the crises manifesting from the COVID19 pandemic on individuals has varied. Leaders need to appreciate the distinct challenges facing each of the different stakeholder groups and communicate trust and certainty through their actions.
Understand the Anxieties of Employees and Motivate Them with Compassion
The pandemic effect has been especially harsh on emerging economies that typically have a large number of MSMEs and startups that employ less than 50 employees compared to large enterprises, as David McKenzie, Chief Economist, Development Research Group has asserted.
The emergence of incremental information on shutdowns, mass retrenchments, and personal losses also leads to issues of mental fatigue, burnout, depression, and extremely high levels of stress. An easy and effective way to stay updated with their general wellbeing is to switch from audio to video calls, which is a much more personal approach, mimicking real-life conversations. Taking out a few minutes for general life updates and catch-up can help employees feel connected and heard. Sharing regular updates with employees on how the enterprise is doing can dispel doubts of employees at such times. Making sure that employees have the right workflow platforms, collaboration tools, and technologies can make the work from experience smooth for the employees. Doing so allows employees to work from the safety of their homes and sows the seeds of a transition from offline mode to a transparent data-driven decision-making paradigm that augments enterprise-wide trust-building and allays risks.
Map the Pain Points of Customers and Provide Relevant Solutions with Agility
Interconnectedness, one of the significant outcomes of investing in global supply chains, among industries has meant that gridlock in one area clogs cash flow and exchange of value everywhere. Leaders need to identify customers’ pain-points through continuous customer feedback across different tiers of the downstream network. Doing so will allow them to create solutions and further test and validate those solutions to verify their local relevance to customers and insulate their go-to-market strategy from risks of failures. Enterprise customers in manufacturing find it challenging to stay competitive due to the high proportion of fixed costs (20-30%) in their balance sheets. Empathetic leaders are creating new models of pricing for customers through technology adoption that are more economically efficient. By migrating customers towards cloud-hosted software applications for business processes, these leaders are pivoting their customers towards subscription billing and metered billing that allows customers to convert erstwhile fixed costs into variable costs and de-leverage their balance sheets.
Empathetic leaders also understand the importance of timeliness. Leaders of many enterprises are, therefore, leveraging business process automation across diverse functions to drive the agile delivery of solutions. Higher agility means a faster time to recover (TTR) for customers and enterprises serving those customers and, therefore, scales up a faster macroeconomic turnaround.
Partner with Suppliers to Augment Supply Chain Visibility by Sharing Knowledge
The COVID19 contagion had manifested itself as a supply chain disruption, to begin with, and will continue to manifest itself as a supply chain transformation coming out. Empathetic leaders realize the vitality of staying in regular touch with their supplier network. They understand the dynamically changing nature of the crisis and make distinct plans for likely scenarios to ensure partners face the least disruptions. The communicate commitments to customers accordingly to ensure transparency in the end-to-end supply chain, finding pockets of give and take to strike a balance. They are actively investing in digital supplier mapping capabilities like catalogue based procurement, B2B e-commerce, and procure-to-pay solutions to stay one step ahead. They are also extending assistance to suppliers by sharing managerial know-how and knowledge resources to ensure seamless collaboration and transparency through digital transformation across the supply chain. Leaders of many large OEMs are also engaged in multilateral negotiations with partners and suppliers, especially MSMEs, to take a fresh look at their respective cost-plus pricing models, payment terms, and cycles to facilitate frictionless cash flow
Communicate Risk factors and Mitigation plans to Investors Transparently
Inevitably enterprises, especially MSMEs, have witnessed a slump in investor interest through the pandemic, and investors are expected to maintain a conservative risk appetite coming out of the pandemic. Empathetic leaders invest time and effort to create a risk identification, quantification and mitigation framework which enables investors to gain confidence that the organization is proactive in dealing with the crisis. Transparently sharing worst case and best case scenarios demonstrate transparency and maturity to investors and allow them to make informed decisions. During such times, quarterly board meetings may turn into quick monthly updates where leaders and investors can openly discuss challenges and solutions.
Share Solutions and Optimism with the Community and Dispel Fears
One of the significant challenges of social distancing is the disconnect from the community. Being alert and practising agility requires us to stay informed on what’s happening in the local community to keep our loved ones and ourselves safe and also to ensure the continuity of social transactions.
How we receive and disseminate information during a crisis ultimately shapes our responses. Sharing our learnings openly with the community and industry at large fosters trust and a spirit of collaboration. Empathy in social transactions requires us to share case studies and examples of what to improve, how to avoid risks, and how to deliver solutions. Such behaviour results in a forward movement along the learning curve while mitigating the risks of community transmission of the fear psychosis.
Support those require extra care during these testing times
The COVID19 pandemic has blurred the lines separating the space and time dimensions of work and family life. What initiatives should we take to practice empathy in letter and spirit?
There is now enough empirical evidence of specific demographic patterns associated with the pandemic. Senior citizens, children, and people with demonstrated histories of respiratory, cardiac, and kidney ailments are proven to be especially vulnerable. We need to adopt extra precaution and health vigilance for senior citizens and children at home.
Physical health risks notwithstanding, the emergence of incremental information on the spread of the contagion creates fear and anxiety among family members. Holding direct and up-close conversations at home daily is necessary to keep family members informed and allay their concerns.
More About Sandeep Goel
With his valuable experience of working in diverse markets in the U.S. and U.K, Sandeep, who is now based in Hyderabad, India brings valuable worldview to Moglix. An avid reader and a globe trotter, Sandeep is passionate about sharing his learning with the broader community of people through teaching. Sandeep currently heads Technology and Human Capital at Moglix. He has been teaching at a Post Graduate Diploma Program in Human Resource Management since the year 2008. Sandeep follows his proprietary teaching technique named “AnaLogica”, which leverages a combination of analogy and logic for effective learning.