Life is unpredictable, even in the best circumstances. But how should a team act differently during a crisis? Despite a company’s strategic planning, data analysis, and contingency exercises, disruption of the magnitude of CoVID19 requires a different approach. When it’s not “business as usual,” implementation plans need to be developed differently: From getting work done functionally to rapidly doing it cross-functionally in ways that organizations are not designed to operate.
For example, in his blog last week, Robert Cross – Chairman of Revenue Analytics – shared insights from flight simulation exercises that he used during the 2008 financial crisis, and wrote how those learnings could be applied to the coronavirus epidemic. Cross identified three key principles to help people and companies manage greater levels of uncertainty: (1) Stay ahead of the aircraft; (2) Trust your instruments; and (3) Don’t overreact.
He wrote that smaller anticipatory decisions made quickly were better than large decisions made late. Teams generally do not plan in this way. So how can cross-functional groups plan more rapidly implement better plans when we don’t know what lies around the corner?
First, having a simple to understand planning and implementation process is essential. Simplicity is critical. Second, the process needs to work very well cross-functionally. Cross-functional velocity is critical when the environment changes faster than siloed organizations can adapt. The very reason why The Velocity Advantage was developed; to create cross-functional solutions in one day that would normally take weeks.
Functional siloes weren’t designed to work during unpredictable times. Properly and quickly solving cross-functional issues today requires a different approach. Velocity is essential. To stay ahead in this and other times of crisis requires both speed and direction—to stay ahead, integrate trusted expertise faster, and act with a steady hand.