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One thing is certain in 2020: uncertainty. With the global pandemic in full effect, thousands have been furloughed or laid off while many companies enact hiring freezes. Yet, other companies are still hiring – and some, like COE’s newest member company Singleton Construction, have found a way to take advantage of the pandemic to bring in top-notch talent.
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As you prepare your organization’s at least partial return to the office, I urge you to take the time to reflect on what you’ve learned about the work. Treat the four months since the Covid-19 pandemic sent millions of workers in various occupations to shelter and work at home as an experiment. The slice of the workforce that was able to move their work to home—estimated to be somewhat more than a third of all workers—includes the group known as knowledge workers.
As we reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic, we start to wonder how certain countries and regions are able to manage the pandemic better than others. By better, I mean fewer cases and containing the spread within their countries for a sustained period. Through science, we now know that effective containment of COVID-19 relies on preventive measures of wearing facemasks, washing hands, adherence to strict social distancing, monitoring daily health and avoiding public gathering to contain the spread.
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To an extent, an organization’s long-term success depends on its ability to shift its focus quickly when conditions change suddenly. Covid-19 provides a vivid example where virtually all organizations in every industry had to discover how to survive amid a new reality: retail stores shuttered, office work redistributed to millions of “home offices,” travel curtailed almost completely, etc. Health care provides the most dramatic example of the need for such a pivot. (Later in this essay, I return to health care in describing NewYork-Presbyterian’s successful pivot in the face of Covid-19 and
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In the research we have done into enterprise resilience, we conceptualize it as a balancing act between the vulnerabilities your organization faces (i.e. the risks inherent in your operations) and the capabilities you build to mitigate the impact of these risks.  The idea is that you want to build a portfolio of capabilities best suited to your pattern of vulnerabilities.