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'It’s time to boldly go where few businesses have gone before'

Guest Column: As businesses prepare to tackle a new post-COVID world, Neena Dasgupta, CEO and Director, Zirca Digital Solutions, tells us about her strategy for these challenging times

e4m by Neena Dasgupta
Updated: Jun 12, 2020 9:22 AM
Neena Dasgupta

These are extraordinary times. Who would have thought I would sit in my living room and call it my workplace! I step into my kitchen for a moment and then back into my ‘office’ and, suddenly, there is no boundary between work and home.

It has given me a lot of time to think about what’s going to happen after the lockdown. Where is the business headed? What about the economy? What are we going to do about things and behaviours that no longer exist? And now, it has become the perfect ground to prepare the response to the current crisis. We owe it to the economy, our people, our businesses, and our dreams.

The current scenario has affected businesses and people across the world. In the aftermath of the pandemic, everyone has had to roll up their sleeves armed with a plan. My three priorities are:

1. People
2. Business recovery planning and
3. Business optimization and continuity planning.

And most importantly, I have worked on them under three broad themes: Fitness, Nutrition and Meditation. Differently put, your head, your heart, and your hand – how do you take care of all three for people and the organization?

People:
Any organization is only as good as its people are and through this sustained period of isolation, away from work, from family, from friends, people have had to endure. We have decided to issue a guidance on how to get back to work. It is not a simple task. People have shifted in the way they function and developed a new cadence in the way they approach work. To support them, we are working with an organisation that is developing a 12-week module on ensuring the high spirit behaviour back into the new world of working. It will incorporate the new business world and the behaviour needed to succeed. We have charted this module for about 60 people in the organization, who will be exposed to new ways of thinking and pushed to explore them. Our aim is to have them retrained, reskilled and ready for the way ahead. This, then, accounts for the aspects of fitness and nutrition.

And now for the Mind – going forward, we want to promote learning and focus. As a digital organization, we understand the plethora of information at our disposal. Thanks to the internet and the creativity and genius of the creators we have plenty of learning platforms and apps that we have shared with the people of our organization. The time at home, also got me thinking of mental and emotional wellbeing and the benefits that meditation imparts to an anxious mind. Perhaps it’s a simple step, but we are creating meditation zones in the office because mental and emotional stability have become even more important now. Frankly, it is a brilliant opportunity because, after the lockdown, you should expect things to be different and you should demonstrate that you are adapting. This is what we are doing when it comes to people.

Business Recovery Planning:
On the business recovery front, we have created a core team that leads it. While the situation has been unprecedented and learnings themselves may be far and few in between, we have survived through enough downturns, to come up with enough data that we can learn from and apply. Of course, things are different, and technology has shifted but we have decided to plan short term, a basic business recovery plan for 18 months and then a longer 36-month strategy to navigate through different scenarios. This team has been given the responsibility of working on the recovery strategy, engaging with key business units to enable them to implement it and tracking the success or failure of the plan. Business recovery is extremely critical. It will enable us to manage cash flows far better given that conserving cash is the mantra for the next 12 months. It will also allow us to transform into a business that is built to grow and sustain itself in the face of any new crisis.

Business Optimisation & Continuity Planning:
The third part is continuity and optimisation. Continuity can happen only when the business is optimised. The recovery team is defining the new optmisation through the lens of the new market trends. This includes a redefinition of team structures in a way that continuity is not impacted, and we experience growth the way we hope to.

The next set of challenges that we face will be geared towards mitigating the changing landscape defined by the how soon the global economy picks up and whether organizations across industries will rise to the occasion. I see the next couple of months not only being phase during which people and companies revamp the way they have been approaching businesses but a paradigm shift in our outlook which will eventually lead to innovation. Its going to be our task to anticipate these changes, some of which we too will embrace, but also to be a part of that circle of innovation. That is to create to succeed.

To summarize, it will be a very interesting 12 months. For me, it’s a massive business opportunity and as a CEO it’s a learning I will embrace for the rest of my life. I hope all of us get past this very quickly and we get a chance to exchange notes on what worked and what didn’t.

Who knows, I might just a write a book about it!

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com.

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