We all live concerned about the health and economic situation generated in the world as a result of the COVID -19 pandemic. In this context, companies and organizations in general have been forced to change their way of working in order to survive or continue to provide essential services. For some of them, this may even be seen as an opportunity to make changes that previously would not have been possible to implement. That the world has changed is a clear truth and in my opinion the world will never be the same, even after the vaccine is discovered.
Every day we see the latest data on infected and deceased people on the news, as well as new security measures taken. We also see how teleworking and remote work have become the dominant form of work and virtualization as the only means of providing educational services.
In this context, it is my opinion that the organizations that have best dealt with the situation, perhaps without wishing to, have shown some signs of organizational agility.
I invite you to analyze specific facts about this hypothesis.
- Organizations and the government have been forced to make quick decisions leaving aside the bureaucratic schemes. In fact, analyzing the situation of the most affected countries, we could suggest that one of the reasons that these countries are more affected by COVID-19 is due to the delay in decision-making. The same scenario is seen in companies that are not able to implement changes quickly that allow them to face adversity.
- Based on how the situation evolves, institutions are forced to make new decisions, creating new actions and leaving previous decisions aside. This reflects continuous feedback and learning behavior.
- In a context like this, organizations require the commitment of workers under conditions in which they were not prepared to exercise exhaustive control, so teamwork becomes a significant differentiating element. In this context, many organizations have also relied on skills previously acquired by their workers to support the new way of working, and in many cases these collaborators have had to assume support roles for the rest of the collaborators.
It may be that in some organizations the aforementioned aspects have already been present in their culture and in the face of the crisis they have been able to react quickly, however, I know several organizations that, having a highly bureaucratic structure and a “traditional” management style, have had to adapt to survive during this time. In these efforts, I think that some entered into chaotic processes whose results are uncertain, but I also observe some others who, leaning on certain previously unexploited capacities, have been able to approach the subject in an agile way, even without intending to.
For the above reasons, I believe that the COVID-19 situation shows that some organizations are able to include a more agile approach within their management approach. However, it depends on each organization that this capacity could be further developed and would lead to a change management process so that it could be a permanent part of the organization's culture.
In the end, the result of the strategies and decisions made by the organization under the previous premises can be more clearly evaluated when the health situation has improved and the economy is reactivated, but for the moment it seems that the organizations that show agile thinking are facing better the situation.