All around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away lives and jobs, damaged industries and enterprises, and turned the unimaginable into the usual. A return to normal, whenever it comes, will be a different normal. What we do right now will define the future, and yet making decisions and acting with assurance has never been more challenging.

Even though each day brings more uncertainties, there are definitive actions that can improve our resilience and strength. A framework that outlines a path forward, lending clarity amid the uncertainty, can make the difference between organizations that thrive and those that don’t. This special report from the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) provides such a framework, organized around seven key imperatives that will be useful for any organization’s executive team.

These seven areas are:

  • Empower a remote workforce
  • Engage customers virtually
  • Remote access to everything
  • Accelerate agility and efficiency
  • Protect against new cybersecurity risks
  • Reduce operational costs and enhance supply chain continuity
  • Support health providers and government services.

This guide is practical and actionable, offering a set of activities that should be addressed immediately, if they haven’t been already. It also suggests longer-term consequences and persistent changes that COVID-19 has brought to industries, companies and individual habits. These changes require actions now to ensure companies adapt to what will be a new, different kind of normal. There’s much to do and it will seem daunting. The entire executive team will need to be engaged. Our different normal will include new habits—organizational, social and cultural. Each leader will have a role to play in preparing the organization for a successful future. Let’s get to it.

Who should read this guide? Executives, government officials and business owners can benefit from the points of view expressed in this guide to chart their path forward beyond what is being called the “Great Lockdown.” Each of the seven imperatives naturally falls within the leadership scope of one or more executive, though each organization’s success will rely on the team as a whole. Leadership, decisiveness, empathy, and teamwork are essential, now more than ever.

The guide also includes actions that should be part of your organization’s mid-term plan as the Great Lockdown eases. Gathered from hundreds of client interactions in organizations around the globe, these actions have been compiled to help executive teams create a different normal together. In some cases, we refer to IBM examples or experiences that should prove valuable for other organizations, especially those struggling to implement solid business continuity plans. IBM is making available its experience and solutions to accelerate recovery and help organizations emerge stronger as they build their resilience and adaptation muscles.

How long will it take? Each section of this guide will take less than five minutes to read. After that initial view, there are additional resources to dive deeper as needed. All around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away lives and jobs, damaged industries and enterprises, and turned the unimaginable into the usual. A return to normal, whenever it comes, will be a different normal. What we do right now will define the future, and yet making decisions and acting with assurance has never been more challenging.

Download the Action Guide: https://www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/institute-business-value/report/covid-19-action-guide#

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