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COVID-19 Advice From a CEO – Robert Cameron

During COVID-19 organisations are identifying expertise gaps in critical areas. As we work through this crisis period we have created a series to focus on these critical areas, with insights from one of our readily available expert Interim Executives. View the full series here.

“COVID-19 has changed the way we do business.  Things have changed, and these changes may be temporary, but they may become the new norm.  It is a challenging journey for both large and small businesses. Failure to adapt to the changing times could have a long-term adverse effect.  A fresh pair of eyes could get you on the business rather than in the business” – Robert Cameron


Robert is an experienced leader with breadth and depth of skills acquired in a market leading global organisation.  He has proven ability to lead management teams and balance at times competing priorities across business units in order to maximise outcomes. Robert is a strategic thinker and problem solver with a demonstrated ability to assess commercial, operational and financial issues within complex multi-faceted organisations operating in dynamic markets.


COVID-19 is a war which is having a tremendous impact on organisations.  Who are going to be the winners? Who are going to be the ones brave enough to step outside the box and embrace the paradigm shift?

After Robert’s many interactions, during COVID-19, with various small and large businesses there seems to be a common thread developing, “surviving and creating your new norm”. Robert believes the current situation is an opportunity for organisations and their leaders to stake a claim and make their mark.

The first step:  Surviving.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Staying calm, what can I control and what is controlling me?
  • Do you have regular and consistent communication internally and externally?
  • Are you agile and fast, maximising new possibilities, and taking full advantage of government and institutional incentives?
  • Are you preparing various scenarios and doing the “what if” thinking?  
  • Are you managing virtually with dynamic post-mortems “Review Redo Repeat”?
  • Everyone is going through some sort of pain. What changes could be made permanent now, for the future?
  • Are you maximising the must dos, eliminating the nice to dos, and “cutting deep and fast”?
  • In a time of stress who steps up and who steps out?
  • Do you have a mentor to bounce ideas off - someone who is seasoned and unemotionally attached?
  • Have you identified contract resources who know your business, markets and customers and agree how you can use them in short sprints?

There will be a huge temptation to reduce costs.  You should definitely do that but ensure that it does not kill the capabilities that you need to rebuild.  Some things should not be cut but put into hibernation.  Create an environment where suppliers and team members want to work with you in the future by having conversations about what you need now, and what they need in the future.

Creating Your New Norm

Unfortunately, in these extraordinary times, simply surviving is not enough.

In parallel you need to:  Create your new norm

  • Managing the “reboot” and that of others to be ahead of the curve.
    • Where will my ramp up sweet spots be?
    • Have new markets emerged?
  • Managing the “reboot” and that of others to be ahead of the curve.
  • Look at what you are learning/have learned:  What virtual tools work and how could this impact structure and customers?
  • Talk directly with your major customers and suppliers, confront their reality as well as your own, and agree on how you can work together in the short and medium term
  • Review the drivers and enablers in areas such as the environment and technology and include these in your strategy.
  • Review your point of difference – does it still exist? Can it be enhanced?
  • Is working from home effective and are people adapting? WFH does not fit all jobs or circumstances however if it does fit then you should consider if WFH:
    • Reduces car / air travel (to / from office and customers) time / frustration / costs “windscreen time”
    • Reduces lease space / costs
    • Increases uptime (productivity) e.g. less lunchroom meetings, going out for coffee
    • Increases flexible working arrangements (e.g. childcare). 
    • Decreases travel related stress resulting in more family time / exercise / work life balance / engagement
    • Creates an environment for virtual training and e-learning

Why Does Robert Think This?

Robert has been here many times before:

  • Robert lived through and survived the GFC and then grew his business quickly, improving market share and profitability in a relatively short time frame
  • He has worked with small businesses to reinvent themselves after periods of stagnation or downturn
  • Robert strongly believes in the value of working with internal and external stakeholders to collaboratively create new strategies and road maps
  • He likes to think out of the box and seek creative and innovative solutions to business challenges
  • He doesn’t believe in knee-jerk reactions.  Whilst there is a need for speed, Robert believes in taking the time to think it through but not over-thinking or “paralysis by analysis”.


If you have any questions or would like to hear more contact one of our helpful team today.