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How to lead your business in times of crisis

Four steps to help support your leadership during the Corona response 

The COVID-19 crisis has quickly developed into a pandemic, having a tremendous effect on everyday life and imposing serious economic consequences. Of course, at Google, our primary concern is to follow national and international guidelines to make sure we fight the virus in the best way possible. Considering this, we will outline steps that can be taken to ensure the survival of your business during this time. 

Filter, filter, and filter again
When following the news, it is important to realize the media will report every development without looking at the bigger picture. To avoid being distracted by media hype, it is important to check whether the news is based on hard facts, soft facts, or assumptions. Making decisions based on proper sources is key. People continue to use Google to search for information on vaccines, travel advisories, and prevention tips (for example, since the first week of February, searches on coronavirus increased by +260% globally). 

Information ≠ being informed
Since news is so widely available, most of your employees will likely have direct access to media sources. However, this may also cause problems due to the variety of news, and opinions may lead to an internal discussion about the facts. One solution is to create a central, regularly updated, summary of the facts. This will avoid assumptions or even discussions on the relevant facts. A strong central communication system is key when taking these measures. Our SOS Alert in Search connects people with the latest news plus safety tips and links to more authoritative information from the World Health Organization (WHO). From an internal perspective, we see many organizations using G Suite’s collaborative tools to build a single source of information where multiple employees can work simultaneously (instead of sharing multiple .def or ‘final’ documents in attachment).

Changing plans is not a sign of weakness
An extensive plan is key to operate in these uncharted waters. The problem with these kind of plans, though, is that they may cause unwanted rigidity when new developments occur. It is, therefore, crucial to handle the plan as 'the best option based on current information.' This can avoid rigidity caused by decision-makers who might otherwise be afraid to look weak. 

Speed up decisions
Important decisions have to be made which, under normal circumstances, would have to be approved by management. This type of bureaucracy can increase risk by slowing down response times. A good approach might be to give decision-making power to a small group of trusted people. The company reaction time can then align with the speed of the external development. Crises will not end with COVID-19. The current volatile situation will bring more challenges, and there will most definitely be more crises after this one. Readiness is crucial for your company to take preemptive rather than reactive measures. Outlining a plan is not enough to get ready. Data analytics is a vital aspect in building resilience since important decisions will be made based on analyses in the first stages of a crisis. Google offers flexible end-to-end data analytic solutions such as BigQuery. Google Cloud APIs can create actionable signals from unstructured data. Leveraging the Cloud Natural Language API or Cloud Vision API, for example, can help you gain valuable insights on written and visual data to support decision-making. If you’d like to learn more on how to use these GC APIs to build scalable solutions, watc this 35-minute video that shares two customer examples during Next.  

 

 

These are difficult times, but it is now that we can make a difference! Using these tips, you can help your company get through this crisis in the best way possible while providing structure and clarity to employees and stakeholders. We at Google Cloud can help you in this task. Click here to learn more.

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