4 Agile Steps to Accelerate Implementation of Recovery Strategy

Flemming Videriksen, Bjarni Jonsson & Peter Søndergaard

Quickly restore hope and optimism in times of crisis

Recover through fast and transparent Quick Wins

Organizations are living organisms.  From time to time, they suffer from symptoms comparable to an illness, just as humans experience.  Sometimes these symptoms are quite severe and result in an external crisis, such as the one we are experiencing now. The result is an imbalance or even breakdown in the organization's subsystems, or the day-to-day functioning of the organization. Restoring and balancing organizational subsystems is essential for the organization's recovery. However, the organization doesn't just need to stop being sick. It needs to get back in shape – be at its best again. 

The big question is, what are the essentials of a good recovery process?

Seize the opportunities in the crisis and deploy a bold approach

The Coronavirus is harming organizations just as it harms humans. Dealing with external crises causes breakdown within organizations, which then affects their customers. For the most part, the issues are abnormal in the sense that they require intervention to remedy the situation.

Crisis survivors experience an organized healing process, starting with a respect for the severity of the consequences facing them. They succeed because they make correctly sequenced changes to recover their balance. If they have not done so, or declared victory too soon, organizations risk a resurgence of the illness—more severe than the previous situation—to the point that they may not  make it at all. 

Speed and agility distinguish those who will thrive in chaos, from those who will lose.  Those who thrive have used their time during a crisis to change and permanently streamline their operations.

Classic risks of dying during the recovery

It is a well-known phenomenon that we, as humans, tend to overlook the recovery phase. We fall into the trap of declaring victory too soon.  It's similar to surviving a severe disease.  You have been fighting it and have now become well again; you are still alive, but not back in shape yet. You must guard against falling back into the old habits, but rather use the opportunity to make changes in your life that will make you stronger than before your illness.

The same applies to organizations.  Our experience from the 2008 financial crisis shows that many companies will suffer greatly in the aftermath because people are:

  • NOT focusing on what REALLY matters
  • NOT displaying a sense of urgency 
  • NOT keeping an agile focus on tangible results 
  • NOT spending energy to follow through to the end  
  • NOT focusing on what they can control

Bold and direct style will strengthen the immune system

In times like these, you must lead boldly and directly, leaving no doubt about the challenges the organization is facing. Communicate clearly and make no promises you can´t keep. The only right way is helping the organization to meet the monster and act accordingly.

We must think outside the box, making radical yet thoughtful decisions and quickly make needed changes in the organization. No one is immortal. When you have led the organization through the first phase of recovery, you must not declare victory too soon. This would result in the organization losing its sense of urgency, which will lead to a setback in recovery—with dire consequences. 

 Pressure calls for a structured approach

Intense pressure requires a very concrete plan with instant and transparent follow-up. The Chief Executive Officer and the executive team are under extreme pressure to deliver a tangible and robust recovery plan to improve the organization's chances for survival.  Ideally, this plan will also reap the benefits of opportunities in the aftermath of the crisis. 

Certainly the board, owners, employees, and all other stakeholders are filled with anxiety these days, which increases demands on management.  Managing expectations using a sound plan and transparent implementation is crucial for mutual respect and trust—which ultimately will get the organization through the immense challenges ahead.

Your success as a leader depends on your ability to influence the organizational culture: get everyone on the same page, accepting responsibility for their role in the reconstruction.


  1. A structured overview of what matters with a thorough analysis of the situation. Map the organization's potential, evaluate its liquidity, optimization, profitability, and strategy.
  2. A clear and concise roadmap based on an updated desired state. Create a Recovery Taskforce to establish clear priorities, measurable goals, and a list of Must-Win Battles. 
  3. A clear and consistent communication plan. Align everyone in the organization by immediately empowering those team members responsible for critical actions.
  4. A clear execution plan. This requires transparency, a clear path of accountability, and prompt, thorough follow-ups. Your fast-track plan will require constant review and adjustments.

The opportunities presented by a crisis are usually more significant than in normal circumstances.  The COVID-19 crisis is no exception. However, it is not at all a given that companies will benefit from these inherent opportunities.  Few organizations have prepared a "WHAT NOW?" plan to be pursued when the COVID-19 crisis has settled. Almost all survivors will just ride out the immediate crisis, put out fires as they are able, and look forward to the new normal. This is a waste of significant potential opportunity.

DecideAct is a cloud-based strategy execution management & governance platform that makes fulfilling business strategy as tangible, transparent and quantifiable as tracking financial performance. DecideAct is headquartered in Nexø, Denmark.

DecideAct - Make Strategy Walk the Talk™

Copyright © 2019 DecideAct. All rights reserved. 
Terms & Conditions. Privacy & Cookies.