Interview: Navigating the Coronavirus crisis

Strategy dialogues with Kanvic Consulting

  • Video   |
  • 23 May, 2020

In the first of Kanvic's strategy dialogues on the Coronavirus crisis director of strategy Deepak Sharma discusses how Indian companies can navigate through COVID-19 with host Alexander Baatz.

Alex: 

Hello and welcome to the first of Kanvic Consulting's strategic dialogues on navigating the Coronavirus crisis. 

My name is Alexander Baatz and I will be your host for this discussion.

Today I am very pleased to be in conversation with Deepak Sharma, co-founder and director of strategy at Kanvic Consulting. I will be discussing with Deepak the strategic implications of the Coronavirus pandemic for Indian business owners and CEOs.

Most recently, Deepak and his team have published a number of impactful pieces on the implications of COVID-19 for Indian business. Their thinking is guided by a powerful new framework that is helping shape how Kanvic's clients and the wider business community in India can navigate through this crisis.

Thank you Deepak for joining us today.

Deepak:

Thank you Alex. It's great to be here. I'm really looking forward to our conversation.

Alex: 

Let me start by asking you about the crisis itself. How do you think Coronavirus is different from other crises we've experienced in the recent past?

Deepak:

This crisis is different in three ways, Alex.

First of all it's a humanitarian crisis. We have therefore a duty to take care of the safety of our employees, their families, as well as supporting the wider communities in which we work. 

Second, the scope and scale of this crisis is very different from what we have seen in the recent past. So leaders who are in the driving seat at this moment have very few reference points to guide them,  

Finally, there is a lot of uncertainty about how the situation will unfold in the coming months.

Alex:

That really captures the feeling of running a business right now. 

You have recently introduced a new framework outlining three time horizons along which CEOs need to navigate their business. What are the key takeaways from this framework? 

Deepak:

As the lockdown was announced, businesses went into crisis management mode. They acted on ensuring safety of their employees and customers and set up work from home ensuring business continuity. As the lockdown get relaxed, the focus has shifted to going back to work 

Given the open-ended nature of this crisis, we realised that leaders had to break down the COVID-19 challenge into three horizons to effectively navigate the crisis. 

First they need to manage the present and the key here is to act. and we have seen a number of actions taken by organisations to manage during lockdown.

The second horizon is the next several months and quarters, what we call crossing the chasm. During this period, companies will see a gradual return to operations but the virus will still persist. To manage well during this period, the imperative is to adapt.

And finally, there will be a post COVID world that will emerge at some point, once an effective vaccine or treatment arrives. Leaders will need to take a new ROAD to advance in that changed world.

By thinking along these act, adapt and advance time horizons, business leaders can group hundreds of issues, information points and ideas that are coming across their desk into these three buckets. Which they can then start prioritising and tackling.

Alex: 

Given the current turmoil that is on top of everybody's mind, it seems tremendously hard to look beyond the present to the months and years ahead. Can you share your understanding of how business leaders should prioritise between these time horizons?

Deepak:

That's a really important point you raise Alex. When thinking about these three time horizons it's important to see them as interlinked rather than sequential. 

We also need to appreciate that we could oscillate back and forth between lockdown and back to work if the pandemic rebounds. Therefore it's important to start addressing all of these horizons at the same time - and that means today. 

Certainly the resource allocation will shift as we move through the crisis - today for example we might allocate 60% resources to managing the present, 30% to preparing for what comes next, and 10% to post COVID world - but we need to commit dedicated resources to work on each of these three time frames.

Alex:

Thank you Deepak for explaining this simple yet powerful framework to help Indian business leaders navigate through the Coronavirus crisis - and for conveying the real urgency for leaders to start acting today. 

In the coming weeks through these strategic dialogues at Kanvic, we will be diving deeper into how leaders can take the right steps to survive and thrive now, next and beyond COVID-19. Providing strategic insights and practical guidance to help Indian business manage in these extraordinary times.


Thank you and see you again soon.

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