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.