PIVOT-19 - Shaping the New Business Normal: Sandeep Kalsi, CEO, Janga Media

What may appear to be small interim change at first glance may indeed become a long term seismic shift for business writes Sandeep Kalsi.


‘Pivoting’ is normally one of the golden rules in an entrepreneur’s handbook. The ‘pivot rule’, usually associated with early stage start-ups, encourages entrepreneurs to adopt business models that are flexible and evolve rapidly, especially when an well-conceived business plan starts to flounder or fail. Everything is at stake, necessitating a complete strategic U-turn. Morphing fast to adapt to a customer requirement or a new market condition is the key.

In a COVID-19 marketplace, ‘pivoting’ is taking on a new dimension as many large established organisations are successfully showing how this can be done. New business rules and conventions are being written, as this forced upheaval demands introspection.

Preserving Cash

As the lockdown paranoia seeps in, survival instincts have also kicked-in. Now, it’s no longer about the next quarter, but multiple quarters. Businesses have stalled, revenue losses don’t equate to existing cost structures. Naturally, cash reserves are being closely safeguarded, as the inevitable COVID-19 organisational rightsizing takes place. Pranav Roach, President - Hughes Network Systems India Ltd., remarked, “Cash will be scarce. For many businesses, growth plans were underpinned by debt, irrespective of how it was raised, bonds, loans or working capital. If that’s not there, businesses will struggle in the near future.”

Agile Leadership

COVID-19 demands a much greater degree of focus on agile leadership, a message that is being echoed in the C-suite. T.D. Chandrasekhar, CXO Coach and Author, added: “What CEOs want from their leadership right now is bounded optimism in-tune with reality. I’m witnessing new routines, structures and rituals emerging to manage the chaos – there’s a new sense of belonging. So, now is a good time to wipe the slate clean, not once but repeatedly. Experimentation is rife. Failing fast and multiple times is required because the answers are not always clear in what is a complex business scenario.”

Business Transformation & Digitisation

Today’s business agenda is being dictated by extraordinary factors that enable pivots to be achieved faster and in shorter time spans. Investments and innovations in automation, digitisation and web services are at the top of the list. Pranav Roach, continued, “There is a definite shift to be part of the online economy, irrespective whether you make plastic cups or provide digital information. Business transformation is being led by associated online support services, virtual or physical, for everything from gaming, media-entertainment, e-commerce to video-conferencing.”

The Workplace

As companies have moved to adopt work from home (WFH) models, there’s a new common purpose from leaders and employees alike. A new work ethic, focus and discipline has emerged with streamlined reporting formats that focus on results and goals. Decision-making and discussion is happening faster thanks to technology platforms such as Zoom and Google, accelerating the cross-pollination of ideas and problem solving. The interplay across remote business teams has meant less silo thinking and resulted in faster, informal collaboration.

This accidental virus has dramatically impacted the workplace and it is clear that a new modus operandi is emerging. Technology is being leveraged to establish new business frameworks and processes. It’s all change from top to bottom for the immediate future as nothing is sacrosanct. What may appear to be small interim change at first glance may indeed become a long term seismic shift for business. In the end, companies will keep all the good learnings and work out the best for them and their customers.

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