How healthy will your company emerge from the COVID-19 crisis?

Check your health with our 7P Diagnostic Tool

Despite the health crisis, some companies are more confident about their growth opportunities than others. Research by BDO Global revealed the reasons. We combined our findings into a 7P model to give you insight into these more successful companies’ priorities and actions. Better yet, our experts have developed a 7P Diagnostic Tool so that you can check your own company’s health and measure it against the market. Go for it!

Ignace Robberechts, Partner BDO Belgium

Even before the COVID-19 crisis spread to hold the entire world in its thrall, BDO Global was already looking for ways to support customers in coping with the pandemic’s impact on their business. We also wanted to aid them in restructuring or rethinking business priorities and strategies as necessary. How could we guide companies and organisations through the crisis, help them arm themselves and prepare for a new reality?

“People, Purpose and Productivity head the agenda during the corona virus crisis.”

Ignace Robberechts, Partner BDO Belgium

BDO’s approach is appropriately titled “Rethink” and consists of 3 phases. “The initial ‘React’ phase focuses on the crisis’s immediate effects, how to protect against it and limit any damage,” explains Peter Van Laer, CEO of BDO Belgium. “In the second phase, ‘Resilience’, we explore recovery and improvement scenarios for processes and operations to re-establish stability and a form of normality. Knowing that every crisis also offers opportunities, in the third phase, ‘Realise’, we help customers investigate how to pivot their business model and market position over the long-term to be able to capitalise on such opportunities and convert them into growth.”

Facing new reality on a stronger footing

In practical terms, the main question during the ‘Realise’ phase is: “How can you successfully adapt your company to new business models and processes in accordance with essential (and sometimes mandatory) political, economic, socio-cultural and technological changes?” That’s not a simple thing, as Ignace Robberechts is well aware. As a BDO Belgium partner, he is part of the global think tank on this country’s behalf. “You also need structure, a pragmatic framework within which to operate. So, we’ve developed a model designed around 7 pillars or internal factors that companies can use to optimise or rethink their strategy to align with the new reality’s requirements.”

The 7 factors, or Ps, are: People, Purpose, Productivity, Profit, Processes, Performance and Place. These pretty much speak for themselves. The figure below shows what each P covers. The 4 case studies below provide more specific examples of what the Ps mean in practice.

Rethink your own 7P model

Strengthening your market position and growth opportunities in the post-corona era will require significant effort. Where to start? What are the main trends, challenges, pitfalls, weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and priorities? What can you learn from other entrepreneurs and CEOs? Ignace Robberechts: “We asked BDO partners worldwide to describe the signals and questions they are receiving from clients. This has provided us with an in-depth, realistic picture of how markets and sectors are evolving and of companies’ expectations and priorities.”

  • Keeping employees safe and healthy (People)

  • Using the values contained in your mission, vision and strategy to create emotional connections with stakeholders (Purpose)

  • Daring to adjust corporate objectives in line with lower capacity (Productivity)

  • Focusing on agile processes to improve working conditions internally, going beyond the digital shift that has already occurred (Productivity)

  • Recruiting top talent and investing in company culture to bind employees to your company even more closely (People)

  • Evaluating all decisions in relation to the company’s vision and mission to maintain consistency (Purpose)

  • Implementing digital solutions for more resilient operations, going beyond the digital shift imposed by the lockdown (Productivity)

“Continuing to invest in and optimising processes will improve your capabilities.”

Peter Van Laer, CEO BDO Belgium

Delving deeper still, we note that ‘Purpose’ can serve as a base in making decisions to assure business continuity during the crisis. “The COVID-19 crisis has been a reality check for all companies,” says Peter Van Laer. “When you’re making decisions that concern the future DNA of your business, you should always base these on your company’s raison d’être.” In addition to this essential message, he also has the following lessons to share:

  • Reconsidering ways of working is key to your employees’ health, safety and motivation.

  • Focusing on accelerated digitisation through new technologies will contribute to successful operations.

  • To preserve financial stability, liquidity management and cost optimisation are the most important measures you can take.

  • Agile models, processes and performance criteria can speed up decision-making.

  • Continuing to invest and optimising processes will improve your capabilities.

  • A flexible workplace and environment are becoming the new corporate reality.

Zij die beter presteerden waren weerbaarder en konden sneller en strategischer beslissingen maken

Why are some companies better off?

They responded with more agility and decisiveness and dared to make strategic decisions. A closer look at successful companies reveals the following:

  • 64.7% continued to invest in sales and marketing, even when other costs were cut (Processes)

  • 41.2% based decisions on the company’s vision and mission (Purpose)
  • 35.3% acted to manage their liquidity (Profit)
  • 35.3% increased their capability through better processes (Performance)
  • 41.2% implemented more agile performance criteria (Performance)
  • 58.8% invested in digital solutions (Productivity)
  • 41.2% did not scrimp on innovation (Productivity)
  • 82.4% switched to teleworking or flexible working arrangements (Place)

The figures also show that less successful companies invested less in the 7 Ps.

Are your 7 Ps in order? Check your diagnosis!

Are you wondering: “Is my company on the right track?” “Am I paying enough attention to all the internal and external incentives?” “How is my business doing compared to other Belgian companies?” “Could we do better? If so, in what ways?”

Ignace Robberechts: “To provide answers to all such questions, our experts have developed the 7P Diagnostic Tool. The tool asks you a series of questions about your company’s performance with regard to the 7 Ps, which takes 10 minutes at most. It then calculates your scores right away and summarises them in a radar diagram.” And there’s more. You can also benchmark your scores for each P factor against other companies’ performance by sector, country, region and size. “In other words, you gain insight into your company’s relative strength or weakness and can decide whether to adjust your strategy based on objective data.”

As the icing on the cake, the tool offers various suggestions tailored to your company. “These are tips and tricks you can put to immediate use in order to come out of the crisis as a healthier business, with stronger growth opportunities going forward.”