The 1966 World Cup marked a low point for Brazilian soccer. Although the winner of the previous two tournaments, the team was eliminated in the first round, and its star player, Pelé, failed to perform. Fouled frequently and flagrantly, he threatened never to return to the World Cup. Many wondered if Brazil’s glory days were over. Four years later, however, Brazil won again, with such grace and style that the 1970 team is not only widely regarded as the best team ever to take the pitch but also as the most beautiful. And Pelé was named the player of the tournament.
Making this turnaround required innovation, in particular, the creation of a unique attacking style of soccer. It required building a cohesive team, even as most of the roster changed. And it required leadership, both in management and on the field. The result: by reimagining everything, Brazil came back stronger.
As businesses around the world consider how they can return from the torment inflicted by the coronavirus, Brazil’s journey from failure to triumph provides food for thought. In a previous article, McKinsey described five qualities that will be critical for business leaders to find their way to the next normal: resolve, resilience, return, reimagination, and reform. We noted that there would likely be overlap among these stages, and the order might differ, depending on the business, the sector, and the country.
In this article, we suggest that in order to come back stronger, companies should reimagine their business model as they return to full speed. The moment is not to be lost: those who step up their game will be better off and far more ready to confront the challenges—and opportunities—of the next normal than those who do not.
There are four strategic areas to focus on: recovering revenue, rebuilding operations, rethinking the organization, and accelerating the adoption of digital solutions.
1. Rapidly recover revenue.
Speed matters: it will not be enough for companies to recover revenues gradually as the crisis abates. They will need to fundamentally rethink their revenue profile, to position themselves for the long term and to get ahead of the competition. To do this companies must SHAPE up.
Start-up mindset. This favors action over research, and testing over analysis. Establish a brisk cadence to encourage agility and accountability: daily team check-ins, weekly 30-minute CEO reviews, and twice-a-month 60-minute reviews.
Human at the core. Companies will need to rethink their operating model based on how their people work best. Sixty percent of businesses surveyed by McKinsey in early April said that their new remote sales models were proving as much (29 percent) or more effective (31 percent) than traditional channels.
Acceleration of digital, tech, and analytics. It’s already a cliché: the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the shift to digital. But the best companies are going further, by enhancing and expanding their digital channels. They’re successfully using advanced analytics to combine new sources of data, such as satellite imaging, with their own insights to make better and faster decisions and strengthen their links to customers.
Purpose-driven customer playbook. Companies need to understand what customers will value, post-COVID-19, and develop new use cases and tailored experiences based on those insights.
Ecosystems and adaptability. Given crisis-related disruptions in supply chains and channels, adaptability is essential. That will mean changing the ecosystem and considering nontraditional collaborations with partners up and down the supply chain.
Rapid revenue response isn’t just a way to survive the crisis. It’s the next normal for how companies will have to operate. Assuming company leaders are in good SHAPE, how do they go about choosing what to do? We see three steps.
Read More: From surviving to thriving