MTN Ghana CEO, Selorm Adadevoh has admonished businesses in Ghana to start putting measures in place to avoid the post-COVID-19 risks that come with the return of life to normalcy.
He was speaking on Springboard Virtual University with Rev. Albert Ocran on Joy FM, Sunday, on the topic Leadership in Unconventional Times.
The MTN CEO noted that in the frenzy of dealing with the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, it is very easy for businesses to lose sight of the fact that life is gradually returning to normal and that will give rise to what he called “normalization risks”.
“It is important that business leaders direct their teams to strategize towards minimizing the normalization risks while they are dealing with the current COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
Selorm Adadevoh noted that the chances for business leaders to focus on effectively containing the current crisis and overlooking the need to strategize to avoid the normalization risks is very high, so this should be a wake up call to start preparing as things return to normal.
He said in the past, many businesses have managed survive very serious crisis, but a few years after the crisis they collapsed because they were not able to contain the risks that came with things returning to normalcy.
“Of what gain is a strategy to scale and survive a crisis only to fail after a few years because you were not ready for the risks associated with the return to normalcy?” he asked, adding, “a good leader would always have an eye on how to contain the future normalization risks, while dealing with the crisis in the now.”
Selorm Adadevoh however noted that COVID-19 has triggered three levels of disruptions, which have also resulted in some uncertainties going forward.
He explained that COVID-19 has disrupted the plans of businesses for 2020 and changed the direction of investments and operations, adding that the impact of the pandemic on the national economy and on the international community also present uncertainties for all businesses going into 2021.
His prescription is for business leaders to remain calm, separate the certainties from the uncertainties, boost worker confidence rather than demoralizing them with lay offs and pay cuts (as some have done) and take advantage of the boom in the digital space.
“This is the time for leaders to show their workers that we are indeed a team and we need each other to fight the crisis together and also prepares to minimize our losses as life to return to the new normal,” he said.
Selorm Adadevoh posits that the new normal, as COVID-19 has revealed, would be heavily driven by digitization and that is where business and national leaders must focus going forward, because that is where the opportunities are for both big and small businesses.
“Beside big businesses moving most of their operations unto digital platforms to support the working-from-home system, small corner shops, churches, education, health delivery, legal/judicial services and even domestic activities have gone digital and that will continue to grow,” he said.
The MTN Ghana Boss noted that even homes have assumed added functions as business locations on the back of digital, and businesses must focus on equipping homes to improve on their new function, while maintaining their traditional purpose as homes.
He also noted that there is a heightened focus on personal health, which presents opportunities for businesses in that sector to strategize and meet that need.
“At MTN we are confident that even though it is not very clear what exactly the new normal will look like, our strategy of calmness in the face of the crisis and the heavy focus on digital in both our own operations and in terms of our investments to serve our customers, is a winner.
“While businesses were laying off workers we chose to assure our staff that no one was going home and that brought calmness and the will to fight. Again, we have since been very rapid with our focus on delivering on our digital strategy and we will continue to investment more in that area to meet customer needs,” said.