The Covid-19 period was turbulent and had a lot of impact on people, organizations, and the world. However, we can learn a lot from the past, and use this knowledge for the future.

Because dealing with uncertainty may be a certainty for leaders. McKinsey & Company published insightful figures for the developments of the period between 2020/2021. In this blog, we guide you through the most important trends.

Culture and change

The Covid-19 pandemic showed us that change is the new constant. We saw companies really struggling with all the changes that lie ahead already before the crisis, and now even more, when they develop new obstacles because of the crisis. The period emphasizes that agility and speed are of paramount importance for survival. When we are looking at the organizational health of companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, it shows that these themes differentiate the healthy from the unhealthy. Organizations should continue to prioritize the following:

Grounding work in values and purpose:

During the pandemic, a lot of employers could not find the motivation to work, yet there were also many who experienced a lot of motivation. Only one lever truly distinguished healthy organizations: meaningful values. Organizations driven by values and purpose have been able to lock in high levels of motivation by design versus in reaction to some of the adrenaline-fueled change we’ve observed over the past months.

Setting the innovation agenda from the top:

Organizations should set a clear innovation agenda from the top, and leadership should source improvement ideas from all employees through a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship. The ability to do things differently and adapt, or be more agile, are characteristics already important before the pandemic. The pandemic has shown that this is now critical even more. 

Increasing the flow of information and transparency:

Most employees do not have access to relevant information, thus exacerbating their anxiety during a crisis. Transparency and sharing knowledge across the organization are very important. Maybe all this information will not alleviate all employee concerns, but it is better than keeping them away from it and keeping them in the dark.

Creating stability through discipline, quick codification, and clear roles:

The ability to establish a stable backbone is what guaranteed sustainable organizational health. Operational discipline and codified approaches can reduce frustration and help avoid re-inventing the wheel. Clarifying roles ensures that employees understand what is expected of them as well as their contributions to the bigger picture. Lastly, practicing responsible financial management—while perhaps a bit obvious—deserves a callout as a hallmark of healthy organizations.

Organization design

These themes are more organization design-based. Keep these trends in mind for your organization in the future:

Adopting new organization models for speed:

In the past years, many organizations adopted new models in their systems. Such as new tech systems and models who helped organizations speed up. It is great to see how fast they can switch apparently! In addition, organizations have and will continue embracing a hybrid-remote operating model to unlock value during crises and beyond.

A focus on decision-making:

Delayed decision can be worse than a wrong decision. During the pandemic, we saw organizations making decisions faster and faster. Be prepared for the future; sustain rapid decision-making! Organizations and their leaders benefit from empowering others to make decisions and enabling an efficient, informed decision-making process through technology.

An increased shift toward organizing for the future:

Who are we? How do we operate? How do we grow? Leaders are asking these three pressing questions as they prepare their organizations for the first true information revolution. The winners of this paradigm shift will be distinguished by their flexible operating models based around networks of teams, unprecedented industry collaboration, and more human companies defined by purpose.


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