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  • The Crisis, With or Without Strengths
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  • Various posts on this web site mention that businesses succeed by building on their strengths. Thatís an important reason why businesses should not panic when faced with the threat of potential disruption. Itís far better to think through the options and, in most cases, not give up on the current business before identifying a suitable new direction that fits the companyís strengths and that seems to be working well.

    But, with the corona virus crisis, companies often do not have the luxury of being able to do what fits their strengths. Instead, they must do what the crisis requires. During this crisis, events are canceled. Dining in at restaurants is banned. Workers and students are at home. All of this is necessary because of the crisis. And, it is happening regardless of the strengths of the organizations affected.

    As a result, even though it is generally best to build on strengths when making changes and to keep change at a manageable level, that may not be possible with the current corona virus crisis. During this crisis, companies may have to do what is required regardless of whether or not it is a good fit with the companyís strengths.

    In some cases, the nature of the crisis may actually allow some companies to go into lines of business that previously did not fit their strengths. This can be the case when dire need, combined with the support and encouragement of the federal government, leads companies to pursue new areas. In cases like this, some of the obstacles that would normally occur due to lack of strengths might be removed. For example, companies with strong manufacturing capabilities, but lacking strength in terms of their ties to the heath care sector, may be tapped to quickly produce badly needed medical supplies. To encourage this, the federal government has relaxed some liability requirements that might have previously kept a manufacturer from moving into a new health care market where it previously lacked industry strength.

    In other cases, companies will just have to do their best regardless of whether or not the requirements of the crisis fit their strengths. In these cases, the changes required may be easier for companies with prior strengths in the area. For example, the work at home requirement may be far easier for companies that were previously used to having their people work from home. But, even then, the new environment brought on by the crisis may still bring challenges, since employees used to working from home may face difficulty when the entire family is home on an ongoing basis.

    Sometimes, companies forced to adapt to what wasnít previously a strength may eventually gain enough experience with the new way of operating so that it can eventually become a strength. For example, businesses that were less used to operating digitally may become stronger at it, or those who embark upon becoming health care suppliers may develop the experience to continue serving that market.

    In summary, the corona virus crisis brings challenges that can make it difficult for companies to stick to their strengths. It is still ideal to do so, if possible. But, in this kind of crisis, companies may have to do what they can even though the current situation does not now fit their prior strengths.

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