Did your company shift and adapt in an agile manner during the early months of the pandemic? Were you impressed with how the organization was willing to try new things? Did this period of time mark a break from past situations all too often characterized by "analysis paralysis" and slow, bureaucratic planning processes? Many organizations can answer "yes" emphatically to all three questions. Now the challenge is to maintain this culture of experimentation and agility as the pandemic subsides. That will be difficult for many firms. Some will backslide into past practices. In an article for Fortune, Mark Hoplamazian, CEO of Hyatt, argues that we can't go back to business as usual. We have to continue to embrace the culture of experimentation that has been essential for firms to survive and even thrive during the pandemic. He writes:
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves into a chronic yet more manageable state, business leaders might be tempted to return to the comfort of business as usual. That would be a mistake.
While some organizations were stopped in their tracks by the onset of the pandemic, those that welcomed experimentation were a step ahead in their ability to manage through it. Accustomed to being agile and listening to their stakeholders, they had a kind of strategic muscle memory that allowed them to smoothly embrace new ideas, behaviors, and practices.
But here’s the tricky thing about experimentation: It means being comfortable with some experiments not working out. Continuously learning and modifying is a critical piece of the puzzle.
It’s no secret that the pandemic brought the travel and hospitality industries to a screeching halt, and it’s my firm belief that Hyatt’s focus on listening, testing, learning, and adapting is what led us through the pandemic and put us on a clear path to recovery.