Helga Ellul

“We are living in a time we were previously not prepared to envisage,” says leading business thinker and doer Helga Ellul. “What we first thought would be a controllable health issue spiralled into successive waves,” she continues, referencing the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that “worldwide, cases and deaths are increasing, and even with a vaccine, the coming years will be difficult for all economies.”

While some companies, particularly those in tech and e-commerce, have found 2020 to be a time of prosperity, Helga explains that most companies know that things will not return to pre-COVID-19 normality any time soon.

“Most sectors have been hit,” continues Helga. “Governments are supporting businesses, but how long will that last and is it enough? We’re at a critical moment. Companies need to re-evaluate their business models and ask themselves, what must we change to survive? Take a look at your products, customers, employees and processes. Beyond that, who is ready and has the financial strength to implement the necessary changes?”

As a word of advice to companies in the current climate, Helga reiterates that money should not be thrown at attempts to keep old business models alive. “Hopefully, the restructuring has already begun,” she remarks. “Work closely with all management teams to create a new way forward and create alliances in your industry. Work with your peers to strengthen the sector and help all players survive.

“Now is a time for strong leadership. Accept our new hybrid working conditions and commit to re-skilling yourself and your workforce because the world’s new way of doing business will require new skills. Technology has helped and companies quickly adapted – but make no mistake, this new way will stick around, so accepting it is vital.”

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