COVID-19 Business Resilience Workshop… have Readiness Plan in just 3 hours

Ready your business for COVID19 and shift staff from worried / scared / surreal to focused / energized / confident before lunch, in just three hours.

This is a self-help guide on how to run a COVID19 Business Resilience Workshop in your organization. This is the fastest way to identify and determine your core services, resilience policies, and appropriate communication plan… but also to support your staff’s shift from scared to confident.

This specific workshop was first run at Children Believe charity in Toronto, Canada (shameless plug please donate to this great cause especially now) and their resilience was featured in Strategic Objectives “How to Pivot Your Brand Marketing Strategy for a Post-COVID World“. By the end of the session we had Tier 0 services identified, key level 1 & 2 policies identified, initial action plan (1 week, 1 month, & some 3 month actions), and we were starting on the communication strategy. What’s equally important is that key staff shifted from being worried to being confident. They knew what they had to focus on.

Step-by-step guide on how to run COVID19 Resilience Workshop in your own organization:

First: Download the main PowerPoint workshop deck

Review the deck in detail including all slide notes and directions at the last few slides.

Second: Adapt it for your needs and size of organization

Here is a sample agenda designed for a cross-functional team of a maximum of 20 people. Larger groups would require more time.

Working board and Resilience board (images intentionally with unreadable text)

Here are some other adaptations you may want to consider:

  • Do you have some kind of War Room to run this session? Consider identifying digital alternatives such as Mural, Fun Retro, or even Google Slides (digital tools suitable for this kind of workshop). If you’re using digital tools, you may need more time to run the session.
  • Can you leave the content on the wall or do you have to move it somewhere else after the session is done (is it a shared space?).
  • Do you have an unbiased facilitator that’s both trusted and positive? If not, perhaps pair up two people to lead the session.
  • Are you concerned with any information being exposed as part of this session (huge organizational risk that maybe unnecessarily alarming to others)? If so, it is recommended to expose and manage the risk while being more selective on who you invite to the workshop.

Third: Setup and run the workshop

One workshop should be enough to plan out policies, actions, and comms for Tier 0/1 services. You may need additional smaller workshops (with a potentially smaller team) to plan out Tier 2 and lower services.

Final Thoughts

Spending three hours to land on core services, policies, actions, and comms (and decrease key staff fear) is a worthwhile investment. Don’t assume everyone can simply work from home. Don’t assume your systems will be up and running. We’re seeing some irrational behaviour in people right now… so this has the potential to overload Internet pipelines and maybe even the electrical grid. Be cautiously optimistic. Stay calm but be prepared.

Please understand this is a self-help guide. You need to adapt it to your needs. We cannot support you by running the workshop for you (not going to travel to your company).

At the same time, please share your experiences and workshop improvement ideas so that others may benefit from this.

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