Pat Kramer is the CEO of BDO Canada.

If you told me six months ago that the entire world would be forced into lockdown due to a pandemic, I would not have believed you.

It is unprecedented, unpredictable, and yet, it is our reality. To not only survive but thrive amidst this environment there are a number of things we can do both as businesses and individuals.

Assess and evaluate

First, we can assess and evaluate our current reality to help inform our next steps. This requires taking a good look at our businesses and ourselves. There is no precedent for what we are going through right now – meaning there is no playbook we can refer to, or moment in history to look at as a reference point so we need to dive deep and reflect.

As a business, this means looking at what infrastructure was already in place that will help support us through this crisis. Further to this, what infrastructure was missing and is required to support our path forward? Do we have the technology and the ability to understand and manage our data?

It also means understanding consumers and their behaviors during and post pandemic. How can a business meet the real needs of consumers and make it easy for them?

As individuals, this means looking at what was working in our day to day lives, and what was not. What were our priorities before COVID and what will they be after?

Communicate

People continue to experience anxiety and fear. It is a very emotional time. Communication of our objectives and how we will get there is crucial. The more that people understand the easier it is for them to see the path forward. When we communicate we must act with empathy and transparency.

Every aspect of our daily lives has been challenged. From the way we take care of ourselves and our families, to the way we work. It is important to understand that while we have all experienced changes and challenges, most of us have had unique experiences because of
them. Try and put yourself in the shoes of your colleagues or friends before you communicate, because the reality is, things might look different from where they stand.

The world post-COVID-19 will be a very different place. The fact is many businesses and individuals have seen the resilience of themselves, their companies and employees tested through these challenging times.

This is the first pandemic in over a century, and the first in a world as connected as ours. This means that when we are plotting our path forward, we need to acknowledge and accept that there will be some missteps along the way. Having empathy and understanding is key.

Re-evaluate

Once we have begun implementing our path forward, we can finally re-evaluate how we will continue post-COVID.

In many cases, restructured work environments have provided additional time in employees’ days that may have been previously spent on transit, or in rush hour. Time they are now enjoying with their families and with themselves. Businesses and consumers are embracing technology more than ever before. From Zoom and Team meetings to Skype interviews, businesses and individuals have made serious digital transformations, again allowing for them to have more personal time in their days.

We all understand that a happy home life can fuel a more effective work environment. This, combined with the fact that some of the most creative ideas and outcomes are developed and achieved in the most difficult times, is reason in itself to continue to innovate through a collective team approach.

We must re-evaluate and reset what we are working towards as required. If we build each other up, and support one another, we will come out of this stronger than we could have imagined. We will show our resilience as individuals, businesses, organizations, and as a country.

As businesses continue to re-open, moving through phase three and beyond I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have all of the answers but I believe if we work together and make a concerted effort to learn from every type of adversity we experience, we will make it to the other side and we will be better for it.

Pat Kramer is the CEO of BDO Canada.