COVID-19: Can business leaders find the bright side to a crisis?


In times of crisis it’s common to focus primarily on the negative effects experienced; loss of revenue, loss of jobs, uncertainty, risk, disappointment. However difficult, it’s worth exploring how this time can also be an opportunity to rethink, revive and reinvent areas of your business that may not be working to full effect.


When everything is running smoothly and your team works at full or near full capacity, it is rare to take the time to think about whether there is something that could be done differently or better. Your teams (and you) are usually so busy that the last thing they want is to be taken out of their comfort zone, even if it means being more productive in the long run. So now, considering a likely slower pace of work, it is a good time to analyze and discuss possible changes that will make your firm more productive once this storm has passed. Planned brainstorming is a powerful tool in this regard. Gather your team (virtually, of course) and start discussing your current processes; who is doing what, how and which documents are being produced, how client communication happens, etc. You may be surprised to learn how much work is being done unnecessarily merely because “it has always been this way”. Identifying these legacy inefficiencies is the first step towards redirecting time to more productive and value-driving activities.


Under normal circumstances, the easiest and most likely way to find new clients is to reach those you are familiar with or that are directly peripheral to your current industry/sector/location. But during times of crisis when options become more limited, it’s worth examining less obvious ways of expanding your reach. Think about what services you can offer to new types of clients while remaining true to your core values and standards of quality. If necessary, it may also be time to rethink your vision and mission and reposition your firm in the market in order to achieve new goals. The same is true of exploring new regions. We have all been “forced” to learn how to work from home, so now the distance barrier has been significantly reduced. This presents an excellent opportunity to approach clients in different cities, provinces and countries. Business leaders should be examining new ways to use virtual work to best advantage. It can also be a real chance to explore new products and services; when would we ever have expected breweries and distilleries producing hand sanitizer? Leverage the creative prowess of your team to examine new and unexpected ways to engage with clients and win new business.


Strategic and forward-looking leaders will use this unexpected opportunity to re-examine their organizations and processes. We are encouraging clients to use this time wisely by investing efforts to ensure they emerge stronger, more resilient and productive at the other side COVID-19. We support leaders of businesses across the AEC sector by guiding them through brainstorming, ideation and restructuring workshops and charettes. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to continue this conversation in the context of your own firm. The first and most difficult step is often just a simple conversation about how to get started.

Let’s talk.

Written by Olivia Alvarenga, Consultant
April 23, 2020