Over the last few months, we’ve heard dozens of stories and learnt of multiple ways that businesses have dealt with the pandemic – the different approaches and the different results. But now that we are eight months in and on the cusp of achieving a ‘new normal’, the focus needs to turn to post-pandemic plans (or at least, post-2020).

Has this year just been a strange anomaly, an unfortunate detour? Or can the processes and practices implemented out of necessity be retained to deliver long term benefits?

Sarah Stockwell (HR Director, ANZ at McPherson’s), guest speaker at our latest disruption circle event, gave interesting insights into how an ASX listed company approached their pandemic response. Unlike many other organisations, they continued to focus on the big picture (growth and delivery), and only changed their expectations on how they would get there.

While this approach allowed them to maintain a steady share price throughout the worst months of the pandemic, the outcomes also provided long term benefits. Not only did they discover processes that were better than their original ones, but the approach is not pandemic specific. It is easily transferrable to any future interruption for any business.

Three steps to approaching future change events

COVID brought on a number of challenging situations for businesses – financial insecurity, staff losses, remote working environments, and increased concern on employee physical and mental health (to name a few).  Suddenly, everyone needed a lot more support to do the same things as they always did. If organisations wanted to maintain performance, delivery, and reputation, offering that support was essential.

While COVID is an extreme example (and a rare event when organisations had to deal with multiple challenges all at once), there will be future events that no doubt require similar action. As we face more uncertainty (post-pandemic ‘normal’, national economic instability, changing work environments), organisations need to be even better prepared for disruption.

Here are three steps, adapted from McPherson’s successful pandemic response, that businesses can follow = to ensure they can effectively survive major change events:

  1. Focus on those affected

Business performance and the ability to deliver on p