17 Mar Five Tips to Enhance Your Post-Pandemic Strategic Plan
As we’re starting to emerge from the most significant global crisis of the 21st century, now would be a great time for tech leaders to come out of your mental bunkers and incorporate several new technologies and approaches that have been brewing while the world’s been hunkered down. Among the most notable has been the rapid advance in AI. So that’s tip #1…
1. Enhance Your Superteams with AI.
The 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey recognized that the use of AI technology and people is not an “either-or,” but a “both-and” partnership. Already 37% of businesses are using AI in some form, so increasingly organizations are constructing “superteams” that pair people with technology to re-architect work in ways that leverage tech to elevate a human team’s ability to learn, create, and perform in new ways to achieve better outcomes. During ABL’s March Technology Round Tables, we gained a greater understanding of how one of these technologies, GPT-3, is supercharging Marketing Automation, as just one example.
Trained on trillions of words, GPT-3 – or Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (yes, there were two earlier versions) – is the third of these models released by OpenAI, and there will be more to come. ITM, Snazzy AI is a GPT-3 application that’s already on the market, and combines “best in class tech from OpenAI and our own ML layer, so you can quickly create any type of content.” In fact, Snazzy.AI provides templates that create Google Ads, taglines, landing pages, and product descriptions – all for free.
2. Rethink how (and if) you’ll use your existing office space.
Already many companies are sub-leasing some (if not all) of their existing space – or they’re not renewing “full floor” leases that are coming due. For corporations, the P&L savings on rent, paired with productivity gains – at least during the first year of WFH, makes cutting back on office space a no-brainer financial decision. And for employees, comfortable staying out of the office – and now possibly several states away, what’s not to like. Except, some folks really like working at the office, and meeting in person to brainstorm and collaborate together. Some clients and customers really like seeing a real address on a real building, where they can meet real people, and not just “Hollywood Squares.”
So now’s the time to strategize: based on the post-pandemic reality of both your employees and customers, how many desks, cubes, and conference areas do you need so employees and clients can soak-in the company’s culture that remains in your reshaped “offices.” Or, is this the time to start “officially” restructuring as a virtual company, and budgeting for the regularly held (at least annually) in person “all hands” sessions, like a couple of ABL members who went “all-virtual” years ago. The key is to ensure that the culture that made “yourco” what it is doesn’t drift out the invisible door.
3. Look for opportunities to combine and leverage technologies.
Have you ever wondered why it took the leading suitcase companies so long to add wheels? I can just imagine execs at Samsonite, which was founded in 1910, thinking about all the capital they had invested in continuing to make suitcases the way they always had, when the first “Rollaboards” appeared in airports with flight crews – and only later with travelers. As Neil Irwin, who authored “17 Reasons to Let the Economic Optimism Begin,” writes in The New York Times, “Consider driverless cars and trucks. They will rely on long-building research in artificial intelligence software, sensors and batteries. After years of hype, billions of dollars in investment, and millions of miles of test drives, the possibilities are starting to come into view.” He then provides an example: Waymo, Google’s sister-company, already has driverless taxis in operation in Phoenix. And consumers had smart phones at home – and now laptops – for years, but it took a lock-down (and some significant government and commercial payment allowances) for telehealth to become an overnight sensation.
4. Americans now have $1.8 trillion more in their collective pockets than at the beginning of the pandemic – stimulated by the government and their own decreased spending.
Whether customers are companies or individuals, the way they buy has also been streamlined during the pandemic. The winners in the post-pandemic era will be the companies that make it easy to do business with them, whether their customers are booking a cruise, or buying a fleet of new cars. Also, there’s the possibility that the Robinhood-Reddit-GameStop retail traders will keep investing in the market, rather than new gizmos, cars, and places to go. One thing is certain: Amazon will keep making it easier.
5. Americans – from CEOs to Joe – feel they’re “owed” a boom time.
As Neil Irwin concludes in his “17 Reasons” article, “Things are primed for a boom time in the executive suite. C.E.O. confidence is at a 17-year high, and near-record stock market valuations imply that companies have access to very cheap capital. There is no reason corporate America can’t hire, invest and expand to take advantage of the post-pandemic surge in activity.” And for the 333 million Americans who’ve been cooped up for over a year, “on a psychological level, doesn’t everybody desperately want to return to feeling a sense of joy, of exuberance? That is an emotion that could prove the most powerful economic force of them all.” From Irwin’s pen to God’s ear!
So, in what will probably be the last three months you’ll be able to pull-back, and do some thoughtful, Strategic Planning for the “Post-Pandemic Era” soon to be with us, think through what technologies (like GPT-3) you can use to leverage your employees…
who may or may not be coming back to the office. And see if you can leverage your technology by combining it with another, creating a “must have” app, product, or service, then plan for a boom time ahead (with a Plan B, just in case).
By Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization – Round Tables and Events for CEOs of Healthcare and Technology Companies