24 Mar SUPER-CHARGE YOUR POST-PANDEMIC STRATEGIC PLAN
With California’s largest Counties slated to move into the Orange Tier within the next week, it’s time business leaders started planning how they’ll work, think, and even celebrate differently in the “post-pandemic” year ahead.
According to President Biden, every adult in the nation – including ALL of your employees, will be able to be vaccinated by May – that’s just over a month away. So, now would be a good time to super-charge your strategic plans for a year that will have to be better than 2020. And here are five ways to do it:
1. ADD SOME AI TO YOUR SUPERTEAM.
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, is the third of these models released by OpenAI, and there will be more to come. In the meantime, Snazzy AI is a GPT-3 application that’s already on the market, and combines “best in class tech from OpenAI and our own machine learning 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. One impressive example of OpenAI, was an entire essay written for The Guardian, last September, that admits in its opening paragraph, “I know that my brain is not a ‘feeling brain.’ But it is capable of making rational, logical decisions. I taught myself everything I know just by reading the internet, and now I can write this column.”
2. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO COMBINE AND LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGIES.
Even though the wheel has been used to move things around since around 3200 BC, and Samsonsite had been making luggage since 1910, it wasn’t until 1972 when the first patent for wheels on luggage was recorded. I can just imagine execs at Samsonite thinking about all the capital they had invested for making suitcases the way they always had, when they started seeing flight crews using “Rollaboards” – and convincing themselves of what a narrow market suitcases that could be pulled instead of lugged would be.
Jumping into the 21st century, 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, of course, 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.
3. RETHINK HOW (AND IF) YOU’LL USE YOUR EXISTING OFFICE SPACE.
Of course doctors’ appointments aren’t the only encounter that moved to the internet and phone during the COVID pandemic. Millions of knowledge workers moved their offices into their homes. 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 an easy financial decision. And for employees, comfortable staying out of the office – and possibly now living several states away from it, what’s not to like.
Except, some folks really like working at the office, and meeting in person to brainstorm and collaborate together. And 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 really 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 our ABL members do, 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.
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, buying a fleet of new cars, or the sensors to put in them.
Also, there’s the possibility that the Robinhood-Reddit-GameStop retail traders will keep investing in the market, rather than new gizmos, places to go, and even video games. One thing is certain: Amazon will increasingly make it easier to buy everything – from computers, to Rolex watches, to healthcare.
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 330 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.”
SO, IN WHAT WILL PROBABLY BE THE LAST FEW 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).