A number of us are reeling from the last few weeks of the coronavirus and its social and economic impacts. Nobody had a plan for COVID-19. As I proposed last week, we are all in React mode, where our primary goal is to support the critical value delivery engine of our businesses, even if you have yet to feel the immediate impact that others have (my prediction: most of us will, eventually.)
COVID-19 has clobbered our plan, but what about our vision? Every business leader needs a vision (what I want to do) and a plan (how I am going to do it.) These two components are the essence of strategy. Nobody knows for sure the duration of the current COVID-19 impact, but eventually we will settle into a “new” normal. In the new normal, will Zoom and Skype replace air travel? Is telemedicine here to stay? Your new normal will be different based on the industry or segment you operate in. While the new normal has a lot to do with our plan, our vision spans multiple plans and is more concerned with how we value people, clients/customers and excellence in product/service delivery. Visions must be enduring because they focus on where you are headed, not how you get there.
Business leaders must define and communicate their vision to their teams. It’s encouraging to your people to know that while your plan may have changed, your vision for the business (and your core values and principles) remains the same. I’ll be willing to bet that your key people are standing with you now because of your vision, and not necessarily your plan; what your company stands for and not what they do. Make no mistake, your plan is very important (particularly now). Your people need to know what they should be doing and how they will be measured. I’d like to discuss planning next. In the meantime, let me know if you need resources on defining and communicating your vision. You need a vision before you can create a meaningful plan.
Update: COVID-Related Loans
I noted this morning that Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced he is seeking an amendment to the CARES Act to increase the funding for PPP loans from $349 billion to $600 billion. I also note the rules for EIDL loans have been updated to say the $10,000 advance is now limited to $1000 per employee up to $10,000.
The experiences of our clients regarding their progress in securing CARES Act funding are not overwhelmingly positive. Two things to keep in mind: (1) the government has never been superlative at rolling our massive programs quickly, and (2) our banking partners are still playing catch-up. It’s also my observation that banks are applying the CARES Act and existing SBA guidelines inconsistently, but they’re doing the best they can. Expect more “clarifications” of the Act, for example targeting self-employment and forgiveness rules. We have heard from several whose PPP applications have been accepted and approved. I would suggest we all persevere, and in your cash flow budgeting anticipate that funding will take longer than promised. Let us know how you are doing.