Gurd Lake at Grundy Provincial Park

July 27 Update – What I’ve Been Reading and Writing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here are a few great articles I came across this week. Including a report from McKinsey about worsening business sentiment and the current status of vaccine development. An article from CFO.com about the negative impacts of layoffs and the importance of considering alternative approaches. Finally, a great interview with Phil Fasano and CIO.com, where he discusses how companies can succeed in the modern era by funding technology investments via reduced capital expenditures enabled by work from home strategies.

I also wrote a post for my triathlon focused blog, www.anathletesblog.ca., where I tell the story about my first adventure race and how a change in mindset enabled me to make physical activity a core part of who I am, Discovering the Passion for Exercise at Logs, Rocks, and Steel, 2014.

I spent a great week of camping last weekend with the family at Grundy Lake, our favourite provincial park, and will be heading out this weekend on a 165 km solo ride of the Simcoe County Loop Trail, as a test before the Cannonball 300 in three weeks.

McKinsey – COVID-19: Implications for business

  • McKinsey provides their updates on the worsening business sentiment coming out of North America, with 13% fewer respondents feeling that economic conditions in their home country will be better in six months. In July less than 40% of leaders had a positive outlook, the worst number they have recorded since they started tracking this back in April.
  • They also talk about their latest research on vaccine development where they find that although early research looks promising with the potential for more than seven products over the next few years, with a few available for emergency use later this year or next.
  • My take-away is that we need to be prepared for the long haul and need to continue to find ways to adapt to our new normal. I am still curious what they mean by emergency use, and whether that means a large scale rush to market or a limited rollout to people or sectors that are in particular need.

CFO – Now Is the Time to Change Redundancy Strategy

  • Some interesting thoughts and insights on the impact that layoffs have on profitability, bankruptcy risk, brand perception, survivor’s guilt, and employee performance along with an alternative strategy for how to handle redundant resources.
  • A few interesting facts they highlighted were that companies that have layoffs are:
    • Twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as companies that don’t
    • 41% decline in job satisfaction, a 36% decline in organizational commitment, a 20% decline in job performance
    • A drop in brand equity impacting future recruiting abilities
  • Their alternative plan was to model what Nokia did several years ago where they formed opportunities for employees to create startups, helping more than 1,000 get their beginnings, 20% of which entered into future agreements with Nokia.
  • Although I think this article highlights several important considerations to take into account when considering layoffs, and the importance of finding alternative solutions, I don’t think this alternative solution would be possible for all but the largest of companies.  

CIO – Don’t squander that crisis-induced transformation

  • In this great interview with Phil Fasano, a CIO Hall of Fame Inductee, Phil shares his thoughts on the importance of technology and adapting for the future, including:  
    • The importance of leveraging technology to succeed in the modern era and how these initiatives can be funded by leveraging savings from reduced leases and physical assets.
    • That work from home is here to stay and comes with immense business benefits and that businesses that don’t adapt to this change will not be able to compete with CEOs who accept our new reality.
  • What I liked about this article was Phil’s insights on the future of work, the strategies he shares to create a culture of transparency in the time of video chat, and the innovative ways that can be leveraged to fund future technology investments.

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