Make A Shift

by | Jul 21, 2021 | Articles | 0 comments

The word “Crisis” in Chinese consists of two characters – one symbolizes danger, and another represents opportunity. This unprecedented COVID-19 crisis may have upended our lives, but it also presents an opportunity to us. Therefore, businesses must identify these opportunities and the key areas to prioritise to unlock post-crisis growth successfully.

We have identified the critical challenges across five areas for companies wishing to make a shift:

1) Pivoting the Business Model

2) Business-Employee Alignment

3) People Development

4) Process Digitisation

5) Organisation’s Culture Setting

1) Pivoting Business Model

Many businesses have shifted their go-to-market model since the pandemic hit. A majority of them have turned to various forms of digital engagement with customers. They have discovered that virtual technologies help them do previously impossible things, such as forming the “ideal team” of experts for different markets. For example, entertainment businesses have generated new content, such as sports retrospectives. In contrast, the museums have created and streamed digital content to enable their customers to enjoy their offerings from the comfort and safety of their homes. Similarly, the food distributors which conventionally supplied restaurants started to establish digital direct-to-consumer channels as their restaurant sales declined.

2) Business-People Alignment

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses”. The pandemic has transformed the business landscape, and therefore, it is critical for companies to re-analyse and re-discover what customers currently prioritise. Businesses should focus on the products and services their customers want and the type of skills and people they require to deliver these products and services. These shifts in business models may require a different skillset to facilitate the increase in demand and customer expectations. For example, brick-and-mortar businesses may now require more tech teams and logistics coordinators than in-store sales advisors.

3) People Development

Operations are a constant challenge for both SMEs and the large listed companies. SMEs encounter delays in completing tasks and projects, while large companies experience downtime in their daily operations. Both try to provide support to their employees in terms of internet connectivity and working tools. However, only the large companies tend to pay attention to upskilling their employees. Leaders should consider developing their employees’ digital expertise, their cognitive, emotional, and agile abilities. Reskilling is a critical step that companies should prioritise to ensure the success of their recovery and business model.

4) Process Digitisation

The COVID-19 crisis has made many businesses realise the importance of training their workforce with new skill sets as they adapt their operations. For instance, many banks have trained their employees to be empathetic to help their clients adopt digital tools and new products and services when the demand for mortgage-refinance applications increases. Also, many companies started to increase their scale and cost-effectiveness by delivering their training digitally, such as through live video sessions and digital learning apps.

5) Organisation’s Culture Setting

The global pandemic has dramatically accelerated businesses introducing fresh and innovative ideas to the market, such as transforming the industry’s ecosystem. Given the accelerated pace of launching new products and services in the market, organisations must instil an agile culture and working model to ensure innovation success.

Above all, organisations must realise the importance of shifting to transform and become stronger from this crisis.


1) EY 2020. Covid-19: Impact on Malaysian Businesses, viewed 19 July 2021, <>

2) Jordan Bar Am, Laura Furstenthal, Felicitas Jorge, and Erik Roth 2020. Innovation in a crisis: Why it is more critical than ever, McKinsey & Company, viewed 19 July 2021, <>

3) Sapana Agrawal, Aaron De Smet, Sebastien Lacroix, and Angelika Reich 2020, To emerge stronger from the Covid-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now, McKinsey & Company, viewed 19 July 2021, <>


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