Dr. Kyriacos Sabatakakis, Country Managing Director, Accenture.
Nothing speeds up human history like a pandemic. Everything changed overnight. Across industries, companies were forced to move online and change the way they plan, produce, operate, sell, and serve, while governments launched online facilities to support citizens.
Companies are now being asked to restart their engines at an unprecedented rate. To reopen and to outmaneuver uncertainty, a program of reinvention is required.
This presents an opportunity – and a need – for many companies to build or enhance their competences: to have more variable cost structures and agile operations; to secure supply chains; to increase automation and be more digital and data-driven.
Based on Accenture’s experience, businesses need a program of active reinvention that starts with these five areas:
1. Put people first: Companies need to truly understand their employees if they want to create productive, inclusive and rewarding work environments for the long haul.
2. Design spaces that work: Create a safe working environment that gives people confidence to return to work premises and to adjust to the new hybrid way of working.
3. Solve in phases: Plan for a phased return that responds to unforeseen events, slippage, and reversals. Take this opportunity to re-engineer processes and to establish an agile operating model.
4. Commit to an elastic cost structure: Shift from rapid cost reductions to building a resilient cost management mindset, and from balance sheet protection to long-term investment.
5. Get Future-Ready: Long-term success lies in building new capabilities. This is the time to begin wider business transformation by leveraging new technologies at scale and by diversifying to mitigate future risks.
This agility will be core to the long-term capabilities they build. To succeed in this, CEOs need to
● Partner aggressively with a cross-industry view by identifying new value chains and teaming strategically with targeted partners. Especially for Greece, there is an untapped innovation potential in the academic output that needs to be leveraged. Also, strategic M&A opportunities might present themselves that were not available before.
● Shorten decision cycles. Timing of a decision is more important nowadays than the exhaustiveness of the accompanying analysis. CEOs need to leverage a new notion of feasibility in compressed timeframes.
● Make transformation CEO-led, to deliver material business value. As CEOs have become de facto single points of reference for their organizations, they should be the ones to provide coherence of vision and cohesion of execution. The CEO as maestro and facilitator is more important now than ever.
The companies that can reinvent themselves –their strategy, processes, customer experiences, employee and social contracts, and do so in ways that further their purpose – will win.
At a country level, we need to utilize the current positive momentum as a springboard to build the next day of our economy. All stakeholders – government, companies, citizens – need to join forces and align on the country’s future priorities with long-lasting impact. By expanding the country’s production capability in a sophisticated way (e.g. Industry X.0, 5G), gearing the economy towards exports, and assuring strategic supply chains will increase the resilience of our economy. Tourism, by being a “physical experience” business, will certainly rebound and will probably be even more sought after in the future.
As a country, we possess the human capital, academic R&D, strategic location, and the necessary confidence to bring all these pieces together. Let us capitalize on the learnings of the pandemic and let us leverage our achievements as an expression of our capabilities and a measure of our potential.
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