We are now in the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world.
All four elements of VUCA are challenges the general public and we, as a company, are facing in the COVID-19 pandemic.
I learned of the first case in New York during a business trip to the US. It soon became clear that the rapid spread of the virus would have an enormous impact on people’s lives. Luckily, I was able to fly back from the US to India to self-quarantine at home where I’ve been since March. Already at this time, the lifestyle changes our customers had to deal with had an impact on Goavega. The journey through the VUCA world had begun.
To reduce the effect of Covid-19 on the company, we gathered information from all functions of our organization. We built contingencies based on the insights derived from the data. I want to dive a bit deeper here and explain the actions that were taken in our business and share a few details alongside each element of VUCA.
Volatility - The increasingly unpredictable rapid pace in which the industry and the environment changes. Luckily, the company’s past decisions eased the abrupt change to working remotely. When we started Goavega, we prioritized providing a laptop for everyone in the company irrespective of the category or their experience with all the necessary software, antivirus, and IT policies installed. We saw red flags when we began to lose customers due to the pandemic so we strategized on what innovative offerings we could build that would help our customers. We created four offerings in eight weeks and focused on selling those offerings to the targeted market segment.
Uncertainty - Can we predict the future in this current pandemic? Honestly, our world has changed so much that it’s becoming nearly impossible to plan for future financial growth. The fiscal year had just ended and we had to consider our budget for the upcoming year. How can we do budgeting in this uncertain world? If the company can bring in the same revenue as last year, our company will likely survive the pandemic.
Complexity - This element of VUCA requires more explanation since we run a business in a complex environment with a culture of multiple unseen layers. More important was the safety of the team and their family. Our HR team called each employee every day to stay updated on their concerns. We, as a company, also had challenges in maintaining the culture of our company in a remote working environment for a long duration. Our employees missed the coffee break chats, the face to face interaction, and the relative ease in which they shared information. It was vital to keep them stress-free and engaged while maintaining productivity. We kept as many channels as possible open for communication with our team. We’ve been implementing many team building activities like creating comic strips, making movies with a theme, and many more. All-hands meetings are conducted monthly with business updates and news on initiatives taken in the organization.
The biggest asset for any organization is its people. We re-invested our money on upskilling our team to have timely and sound knowledge so that they can be more productive with our customers. In this world ruled by the pandemic, practicing empathy is more important than ever. Our internal communication emphasizes continuous upskilling and for our employees to remain innovative, to persevere, and to continue to be resilient.
Cash flow is the key to sustain and run a business. Therefore, we made hard decisions to reduce costs wherever feasible. Anniversary hikes were paused for only a year. The message was communicated to our team and we have requested them to stay positive and support us in this decision for a better outcome. We thank our team for believing in us and supporting us in these difficult times.
Managing sales was another tough function of the business. We had to think lateral since there were no more international travel, in-person meetings, and conferences to attend. The sales team participated in virtual conferences and webinars to nurture new connections. In Goavega, I play a key role in the sales function. I’ve always practiced relationship-oriented sales rather than transaction-oriented. I have learned over the years how we all need each other’s support to build a healthy ecosystem and keep relationships warm. My long-term association with my friends, ex-colleagues, and their references have helped me in a long way. It is not hard to learn how to be kind and yet demonstrate entrepreneurial behaviour with your customers or new prospects.
We, as a company, focused on thinking forward into the future. Actions taken to ease the impact from this pandemic included forging strategic alliances with organizations that had complementary skills. We also diversified our portfolio to include sectors that may display urgent technology needs. The faster Goavega delivers, the better chance our clients will survive this crisis.
Ambiguity - In an ambiguous world, the business decisions that we take can be interpreted in many ways. Should Goavega focus on profitability or sustainability? Each of our stakeholders will have different viewpoints. But we can promise that we will address those viewpoints while still leveraging technology to cater to the needs of our customers. Quality, Speed & Cost will continue to be our focus while delivering adaptive solutions in these ambiguous environments.
Even with all the clear challenges it presents, the VUCA world also presents opportunities for us. With effective planning and change, this could be our chance to emerge as a stronger team and as better individuals than before. We should look for opportunities in this disruption and utilize the best of this unprecedented time.