“Right now I would be planning my recovery… If you have a plan that lays out your intention for recovering, then you can enact that instead of starting a plan when you think recovery has [already] begun.”
– Hank Brown, Cyberwarfare Expert
The past month has created a different world for businesses across our country. Many of us have had to figure out how to navigate COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns as professionals and business owners. Some of us have tackled working remotely for the first time. Others have figured out how to offer virtual services or e-commerce as an option. But as business owners, almost all of us have been heavily affected, either in our numbers or in the way we do business.
As we look toward the future, and the possibility of some return to normalcy, we’re faced with the unknown. We may not have a specific date for when we can return to ‘business as usual,’ but that doesn’t have to keep us from planning for that day.
Paul Sponcia, CEO of The IT Company, recently sat down with founding member of USCYBERCOM and cyberwarfare expert, Hank Brown, over a video call to discuss how to be prepared for what’s next as a business owner. We’ve taken the time to map out the highlights from their conversation concerning what you and your team may have learned through these uncertain times, and how you can use those lessons to shape your business’ success moving forward. Watch the highlighted section below, or keep scrolling to read what you can take away from Paul and Hank’s discussion.
If you’re a business owner, and you’re facing the tail-end of COVID-19 related lockdown, what should you do to prepare for the reopening of the economy?
- Plan your business’ recovery before things start back up. Even if you don’t know what the reopening date is, it’s better to have a plan ready to launch rather than waiting to create a plan when recovery should begin.
- A part of your business’ recovery plan should be an After Action Review (AAR).
What is an AAR?
- An After Action Review (AAR) is a time for you and your team to regularly meet and discuss lessons learned through your work. Whether something went wrong or really well, it’s a time of vulnerability, where you can take what you’ve learned and figure out how to use that information going forward.
- Now is the perfect time to conduct these kinds of reviews with your team. Being able to talk about what’s gone wrong, and how it could have gone better in the midst of a huge disruption to society and the economy, helps prepare your team for your business’ recovery.
Now is the time for vulnerability
- Remember throughout this entire process that the point of an AAR is not for you to be proven right, or to evaluate your team based on the situations they’ve struggled with.
- Leaders should be the first ones to be vulnerable. Check your ego at the door. In the middle of this, if you realize you made a mistake, come in and admit you’ve made a mistake.
- This is not a time for retribution. The purpose of this time is vulnerability and transparency about lessons learned and how to use those in optimizing your business’ recovery and success moving forward.
What should an AAR cover?
- The purpose is mainly to address what may have gone wrong and construct a plan for the future based on those. You can certainly talk about positive lessons and experiences, but focus on those that have taught you something new.
- Some good leading questions to ask in an AAR:
- What’s happened this past week?
- Where did we succeed?
- Where did we fail or fall short?
- What did or can we learn from this past week?
- How can we apply this to the future?
What do you do with this information?
- The main goal in conducting regular AARs during this time is to lay out a plan of action for your business’ recovery. What valuable lessons have you and your team learned about your work, yourselves, and your clients during these strange times that can help your business when you’re in recovery mode?
- Write up a document with the lessons you pull from your AARs and use those when writing out your business’ recovery plan.
Remember, throughout this entire situation, that it’s the perfect time to look at your business and assess why you do things the way that you do, and what you could possibly improve or optimize. This is especially a time to work together with your team to find the right ways to optimize your business’ success and recovery moving forward. Perhaps there’s a service you’ve always offered that’s more relevant than ever, or even a way that you can provide some extra care and reassurance to your clients through what you do every single day.
For more information on how you can optimize your business while working remotely, or even more tools and ideas on how to recover from the far-reaching impact of COVID-19, you can discover more tools and resources on our website!
Ready to take the first steps towards optimizing your IT services? Schedule a consultation!