We met Arnaud Marion, founder of Marion & Partners Ltd in London and the IHEGC (Institut des Hautes Études en Gestion de Crise), French specialist in crisis management and transformation, with over 300 specific projects successful in crisis management and restructuration of emblematic companies.
FBP: What are the characteristics of this Covid 19 crisis?
AM: This crisis is beyond measure, because there is no precedent. A crisis is an unexpected event that can jeopardize an organization. It is characterized by its suddenness, its breadth and its need to act quickly. In this particular case, the whole world is affected by this crisis, and confines itself continent by continent. The principle of a crisis is that it is not predictable. In the current circumstances, and on the scale of the current crisis, even less!
FBP: How should business leaders react?
AM: We have to start from the principle that this is not the end of the world and we have to establish a crisis cell working on the post-crisis immediately, imagining the normal resumption of activity will return. It is important not to paralyze daily living, the confinement of certain categories of people should not be confused with holidays or time off! To the contrary, tomorrow has to be prepared as of today. It is also essential that the company carries on as a social body, and above all that, keeping the link with its teams through detailed and precise information exchanges. We should preserve our scarce resources as they will be needed when we restart and normality returns.
FBP: Will life resume its normal course and when?
AM: No, precisely! The world after this crisis has passed, will not be like the world before. This is key for understanding the issues. When this crisis was purely Chinese, we saw how much we collectively realized that we were 25% dependent on a country for the added value of our products, we discovered that Paracetamol was no longer produced here but in China. Those who will emerge winners from the crisis are those who will transform themselves with greater demands on their value chain and on the world around us. To succeed in the future, company leaders have to widen their field of day to day consciousness and think outside the box!
FBP: What about the employees?
AM: Employees should remain loyal to their work ethic and support for their employer, flexible as ever and continue their work ethic. The companies that put CSR at the heart of their management will be the big winners.