Have a clear strategy to emerge from crisis times
‘’The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave’’ is an inspirational quote by former US President Ronald Reagan that takes pride of place in the office of Paul Allen & Associates.
Paul Allen & Associates is a Dublin-based public affairs and communications firm, and is one of the country’s leading firms in crisis management and securing results.
When asked about the Presidential quote, Managing Director, Paul Allen says it is there to remind us all of the critical mindset needed to succeed in the extremely challenging business environment we live in. “In order to succeed today the first thing we need is the ambition and the determination to keep going’’, he said.
“There are two types of business battling the pandemic, those doing clever things to deal with the new world and those who are not. We always say a shock is the very catalyst for change, and the bigger the shock the bigger the change to an organisation or individual.”
Some businesses have navigated the springtime Covid storm well and are now preparing themselves for a bumpy autumn season. When there is no playbook for the situation you are in, it’s time to write a new playbook. Turmoil in a crisis can also illustrate great strength, especially when providing rapid advice and counsel to clients caught in unexpected market turbulence.
“While some commentators refer to the marketplace as ‘the new norm’, we are constantly saying to clients ‘welcome to the new temporary’”, said Allen. “It is essential that businesses start to look beyond the pandemic and now we are helping them build a new vision.”
“Back in March, our advice was ‘never waste a good crisis’, and now we’re saying ‘never waste a good recovery’. The pandemic forced us to look in the mirror, and we asked clients the question ‘can you accept what is looking back at you?’ We tend to hear the reply that we see a complex world full of contradictions, the rapidly changing environment and a new reality.”
He went on to say; “In our own business, during the midst of the crisis we quickly realised we had to change tack and pivot our business into new sectors,” said Allen. “We set out a clear strategy of what we wanted to do, and we were determined, ambitious and aggressive in implementing it, and it worked.”
“Over the past six months we have seen countless examples of businesses who have gone to extreme lengths to find new ways to innovate and keep their businesses afloat. Outstanding people who rallied in the face of adversity, took on the challenge and won.”
“A great example, and our clients always mention it, is how we helped the Irish Hairdressers’ Federation come together to get their businesses back open early and safely,” said Allen. “Never was a better example of total co-operation within a sector, and we all do better when we work together. In our world of public affairs and communications, this is the mindset and message that leaders in all sectors need to be driving throughout their organisations. Times are hard, but this is no reason to stop working hard or trying to succeed. In fact, its time to work harder than ever.”
The first thing any organisation needs to do is decide if it is motivated to succeed. “Ask yourself, have you given 100% commitment to this project? If the answer is no, pack up and go home. The leadership needs to be motivated, and in turn motivate the rest of the organisation.”
Central to success is having a clear strategy. “This involves deciding on some key objectives and building a path towards them,” said Allen. “Everyone must understand what the organisation is trying to do. This is an aspect that is central, considering so many are working from home.”
Leaders in business now need to think much more deeply about strategy, not just for dealing with the pandemic but charting a course through it and beyond it.
“’As the great baseball player Babe Ruth once said, ‘You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up.’ There will be obstacles along the way, but you must be determined to go over them, around them, under them or straight through them.’’