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Building strategic resilience to survive beyond the ‘New Normal’

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By Prasath Mahalingam

As we near the two-year mark of the ravenous coronavirus pandemic, it is positive to see that many businesses worldwide have stepped up to the challenge, adjusting their businesses both to safeguard their employees and to continue serving their customers. Even locally, many organisations believe that they have responded efficiently to the pandemic. Yet, some companies showed true grit during these testing times, proving to be more resilient than others, by swiftly adapting their strategies to address both the challenges and the opportunities created by the pandemic. What was the secret behind their success?

As someone involved in building new opportunities to thrive, I see three elements that stand out. Firstly, successful companies quickly accepted the weaknesses in their business’s strategic resilience when the pandemic exposed them. Strategic resilience is the degree to which an organisation’s business model and competitive position show resistance to change. Secondly, they used business-model innovation as the strategic lever to address the crisis. During the last one and a half years, we saw many firms—including local companies—responding effectively to business challenges through unique innovations. And lastly, organisations reworking their business continuity plans, instead developing ‘scenarios’ that give more space for innovation, as they expect them to persist beyond the crisis.

Assessing your strategic resilience

The pandemic has put businesses through demanding resilience checks. For many, it was a rude awakening. While the pandemic weakened the competitive position of some companies, many firms have been able to gain a competitive edge. How? Successful companies have been heavily relying on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, machine learning and cloud. A McKinsey survey 1confirms that technology adoption rates are years ahead of where they were when previous surveys on digital accelerations were conducted. A client of 99x recently engaged us on a Big Data project to analyse over 13 billion records to identify trends that could lead to new business opportunities and increase value to clients.

For organisations that gained ground during the crisis, business model innovation has become the key differentiator. Companies that adopted and tested their novel business models have focused on several areas. One is new digital experiences and services. These were leveraged in response to changes in customer behaviors and needs. Last June, 99x launched DevGrade, a first-of-its-kind solution geared towards hiring technical talent. The fully automated assessment platform allows recruiters to hire the best by virtually evaluating them in simulated real project environments.

Another area has been new partnerships, both within and outside the industry. For example, we have seen insurance companies partnering up with telcos to develop telemedicine apps and pharmaceutical companies collaborating with medical institutions to accelerate vaccine development. Change of sales models is another factor as many companies have had to alter the way they market and sell their offerings. Imagine how the business model of restaurants and logistics companies changed during the last several months with the rapid growth of contactless delivery. The faster development of products has also been a crucial factor to respond to pandemic-related issues rapidly.

Nevertheless, many of these innovations are here to stay in most cases. Many businesses believe their business-model transformations will persevere in the long term—and see more on the way. For example, many IT companies in Sri Lanka are considering a hybrid work model or setting up satellite offices that provides employees flexibility. This in turn will boost productivity both within the organisation and for its customers. All of these reaffirm a time-tested motto: There is also great opportunity in times of great disruption.

Structuring your strategic resilience

The pace of change keeps accelerating. Being brave to make a bold move faster in these uncertain times will help you stand out from others who are uncertain about making a strategic decision to disrupt. To keep up with the rapid pace, the strategic planning process of a business and the team has to be agile to face the high volatility of the business landscape. To do this, organisations need to fix bold objectives. Crises such as the ongoing pandemic pave the way for organisations to explore new business opportunities.

If there ever was a time to reimagine business strategy and fix bold objectives, it is now. Many firms managed to react with unprecedented speed to challenges presented by COVID-19, and they did it in just days and weeks. This is the time to mirror the future role you want your organisation to play for its stakeholders, including customers and employees. Such vibrant organizations,, possessing a disruptive business model have even been able to attract investment for their next phases of growth during these challenging times.

Additionally, the days of developing forecasts for your organisation have now passed. The new normal is all about developing scenarios. Scenarios help a business realise the range of possibilities it might face. This allows the evaluation of planned strategic moves against any crisis and can confirm that the strategy can thrive in a range of future outcomes. This is why business leaders must develop scenarios together with finance and strategy business units to integrate all pertinent viewpoints.

In conclusion

It is impressive how most businesses, including local companies, have infused innovation into their business strategies to respond to the pandemic. However, with COVID continuing, uncertainty and change isn’t going to disappear overnight. To ensure your company is strategically resilient for whatever the future brings, start by instituting dynamic planning procedures that will empower your teams to unlock crucial moves necessary to come out on top, while being flexible enough to change direction if needed.

(The writer is the Chief Business Development Officer at 99x and drives strategic business deals across various domains with key prospects, customers, innovation partners and industry influencers. With over 18 years of experience, he has worked across many disciplines including business analysis, delivery management, people development and marketing, and has been a catalyst in driving change across the organization.)



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Business

Sri Lanka’s economic confidence index plummets

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‘No one has rated Sri Lanka’s economic condition as excellent. 1.8 % rated it as good and 1.3 % rated it as getting better. The resulting score was a (-) 96. This rating was (-) 83 in January 2022, a wide ranging Verite Research public opinion survey reveals.

Key findings of the survey:

Government approval rating drops from 10% to 3%

The second round of the Gallup Style “Mood of the Nation” poll was conducted in June by Verité Research. It assessed the approval, satisfaction, and confidence of the nation in relation to the government, the country, and the economy.

The poll was conducted as a part of the syndicated survey instrument by Verité Research. This instrument also provides other organisations the opportunity to survey the sentiments of Sri Lanka.

1. Government approval rating | 3% | To the question, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way the current government is working?” only 3% said they approve. In January 2022 this rating was at 10%.

2. Sri Lanka satisfaction | 2% | To the question, “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in Sri Lanka?” only 2% said they were satisfied. This rating was at 6% in January 2022.

3. Economic confidence | negative (-) 96 | Multiple choice questions on the condition and trajectory of the economy are used to generate an economic confidence score. The score can range from negative (-) 100 to positive (+) 100. A score above zero means more people see the economic conditions positively rather than negatively. If everyone thinks the economy is in either excellent or good condition, and everyone also thinks it is getting better, the score will be (+) 10. If everyone thinks that the economy is in a poor condition, and everyone also thinks it is getting worse, the score will be a (-) 100. No one rated the economic condition as excellent. 1.8% rated it as good; and 1.3% rated it as getting better. The resulting score was a (-) 96. This rating was (-) 83 in January 2022.

Implementation of “Mood of

the Nation”

The poll is based on an island wide nationally representative sample of responses from 1,052 Sri Lankan adults, conducted in June 2022. The sample and methodology was designed to ensure a maximum error margin of under 3% at a 95% confidence interval. The polling partner was Vanguard Survey (Pvt) Ltd.

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Decline in share market in the wake of rate hike reports

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading activities began on a positive note yesterday but during the latter part of the day the market experienced a dip on account of the overall supply chain economy being subjected to a contraction, stemming from the fuel crisis. Consequently, CSE activities were relatively low keyed, market analysts said.

“We are reverting to the negative. There is uncertainty on all fronts, from the political to the economic. Therefore, we are expecting a rate hike on Thursday. This is creating a bit of a cloud and we may see this continuing further, a top market analyst said.

Even if top level decision- making is happening in Sri Lanka the impact is not felt at the grassroots level. This has resulted in unrest in the country, the analyst said.

Amid those developments, both indices moved downwards. The All- Share Price Index went down by 97.9 points and S and P SL20 declined by 34.3 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.3 billion with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH, which crossed 600,000 shares to the tune of Rs 73.2 million, its shares traded at Rs 122.

In the retail market, the top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Lanka IOC Rs 611 million (7.3 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 173.9 million (one million shares traded). LOLC Holdings Rs 47.4 million (120,000 sha4es traded), Hayleys PLC Rs 46.5 million (697.000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 46.3 million (6.4 million shares traded), JKH Rs 21 million (173,000 shares traded) and Softlogic Holdings Rs 20.5 million (794,000 shares traded). During the day 109 million share volumes changed hands in 15000 transactions.

The International Monetary Fund said last Thursday its talks with crisis-hit Sri Lanka had been “constructive”, thereby raising hopes it would soon grant preliminary approval for a desperately needed financial support package, observers said.

Meanwhile, the Colombo Consumer Price index rose 54.6 per cent year-on-year in June against a 39.1 per cent rise in May, according to the Statistics Department.

Yesterday the US dollar rate was Rs 360.73, which is now being controlled due to the prudent fiscal and monetary policies of the Central Bank.

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Dialog Club vision members receive access to an exclusive screening of ‘Jurassic World Dominion’

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In a bold and breath-taking new global adventure, the epic conclusion to the Jurassic film franchise ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ hit theatres across the world on June 10. Just a day after its global premiere, Dialog Club Vision Red members and their loved ones received special access to an exclusive screening of the film at the Kandy City Centre Multiplex on June 11.

The explosive end to the Jurassic era sees two generations of the film’s franchise unite for the first time with Hollywood’s Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard joined by Oscar winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill. Dialog Club Vision members were some of the first to witness the utopian world where Dinosaurs and humans co-exist.

With the best interests of its members and their loved ones at heart, Dialog Club Vision continues to deliver a world of exclusivity and privileges such as personalized care, exclusive discounts and offers, lifestyle and entertainment events and more. To explore more exciting offers available for Dialog Club Vision members, and to learn more about Sri Lanka’s premier loyalty programme, customers can visit the MyDialog App or visit dialog.lk/club-vision

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