The time to transform is now.

Ah, the allure of the past. It’s human nature to look back fondly, but honestly, if you’re like most of us, your organization was likely struggling to gain momentum, fighting with conflicting priorities, and bogging down in outdated systems. 

That’s because in ordinary times, leading organizational change is hard.

Here’s why: people are afraid and/or resistant to change; or people don’t have the time to focus on making change stick.

But these are not ordinary times.

In Canada, we have felt the effects of COVID-19. Still, by international standards, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have business and individual supports designed to keep employers and employees whole (even if not open) during the down time, to help speed recovery after the vaccine.

BDC predicts a projected economic contraction of 5.5% in 2020 will be followed in 2021 by Canadian GDP growth of 4% to 4.5%, depending on vaccine availability. A slowdown in the Canadian economy in the last quarter of 2020 is expected to continue into the first part of the new year.

So this winter will be a long one, but the end is in sight. And right now, many businesses have a glut of capacity as people are furloughed.

Two things about change are different now:

  1. What many people feared the most has now happened. Your organization has changed.
  2. People’s roles and responsibilities, processes, systems and relationships have all changed.

People have time. Perhaps not everyone, but many are at 75% or less of their previous responsibilities.

This is a significant opportunity. Your organization has changed. It will change again, soon.

It probably won’t, or shouldn’t, change back.

So, what will it change into?

What will your organization look like in 2022? What will your story be? What about your culture?

If you weren’t heading toward a clear and meaningful future when the world stopped, now is the time to define that future very, very clearly.

During 2020, we have been forced into the discipline of minimizing overhead and increasing the effectiveness of every dollar spent. We have direct evidence of the products and services our customers value the most. The weaknesses in our production, processes and supply chains have been laid bare. And we have seen the character of the people around us. We can’t un-see what has been shown.

Now, we can unflinchingly consider what we will leave behind, what we will keep for now, what we will keep for good and what we will create that is new.

Creativity is the most effective response to rapid change.

Instead of investing in patching back together what used to be, this is the time to communicate your new story, new direction, and new brand. Blame it on the crisis, blame it on whatever you like, but if you plan correctly, this can be the moment for a leadership and organizational transformation like no other.

The fact is, we are different now. So, we can be different now.

People returning to work will want leadership, direction and clear answers more than ever – and they will want it fast.

If you plan now, you can welcome them into your new brand story, reassure them and get them busy creating the new ways before they can revert to the old ways.

That’s how you start to turn your organization into a powerful and trusted brand.