2020 – Hitting The Brakes While Stepping On The Accelerator

2020 - Hitting the brakes while stepping on the accelerator

Author – Stian Kildal – Ammeon CEO

I have been fortunate enough to have had several bosses who were leaders and that taught me a lot as I progressed in my career. In my current role as CEO at Ammeon I find myself looking back on the toolbox of experiences, advice and lessons their leadership offered me.

I feel a strong personal responsibility to do the very best I can for our staff and the company. The leadership lesson that comes to mind in navigating the current challenging times and uncertainty is…

“You need the ability to step on the pedal and hit the brakes, both at the same time.”

This seemingly counterintuitive analogy is very fitting today for a lot of businesses. The same boss might have said “we cannot save ourselves to success”. So there is always a reason to invest time, effort and $$$ towards priorities. Yet we need to be prudent, act swiftly and manage tightly to ensure time and money is well spent towards our most important goals. 

At Ammeon we are navigating the current times in line with these 3 principles;

1- Apply brakes

  • It’s important to put in place cost-saving measures, to preserve cash and ensure staying power through the uncertain period ahead. This includes making difficult decisions. But the faster you take this step the less painful it will be. Having a “Plan B” on hand for when a crisis hits helps you implement faster.
  • Ensure alignment across the leadership team and key stakeholders such as owners of the business and key customers, on relevant parts of the plan. Common understanding and acceptance will help you move faster.
  • Monitor and ensure the expected savings are actually coming through.

2 – Take care of your employees and your current customers

  • Support your employees not only with practical matters but by keeping an eye on health and wellbeing. This is especially important after a prolonged period of lock-down and working remotely.
  • Communicate more frequently.
    Don’t be afraid to address concerns head-on. Many people will have the same questions so you are better off being transparent. Involve employees in communication and activities for broader engagement in order to highlight the good things that are happening in the business. 
  • Let your customers know they can count on you.
    At Ammeon our team leaders and employees work hard every day to honour our commitment to continue delivering what our customers need from us. Be curious about your customers’ challenges, perhaps they will lead to new opportunities.

3 – Press the accelerator, but focus

  • Re-evaluate your growth options.
    Which segments of the market have healthy financials and needs you can serve? Can you grow by offering new products or services? Or reach new customers in new ways? At Ammeon we are now selectively developing partnerships to extend our reach.
  • Consider adopting SaaS cloud services and software Automation.
    Now is a good time to move important systems and services to the cloud to support remote administration, customer- and employee communication and to drive efficiency. If you can’t use a standard SaaS solution, perhaps applying Automation to existing processes and tools will be a good first step.
  • Encourage your employees to commit time and energy to innovation activities and new learning. This is an opportunity for every employee but also becomes a platform for driving new business or efficiencies when lock-downs ease and we operate in a “new normal”.

The net result of our own actions so far is good considering the market situation and uncertain outlook. But after many weeks of the pandemic, most people I speak to acknowledge that kicking off new projects and finding new opportunities is a real challenge. 

This business of doing remote business is more often than not resulting in no new business. Or so it seems.

Learning how to build new relationships online, building trust through a screen and kicking off a new project, all in a virtual room, is very different than what we are used to. And it has been a real challenge for a company like ours, whose approach has been to stun our customers with our best engineers in a room.

In my previous post, I encouraged looking for small and practical opportunities for “Digital Transformation”, not as part of a grandiose program that will never finish or be funded properly. But to take concrete actions that have the potential for real customers or employee benefits here and now.

In evaluating the Customer Experience we offer we realise we can do even better;

Very soon we will be launching initiatives that will make it a lot easier to engage with us. It will make it easier to understand what value we bring and how we can help you. It will make it easier to accelerate the transformation in the business without expensive, custom-designed programs that “take forever”. And instead make it easy to see how we can help create quick wins and tangible results by working together.

Do what you preach, right? Very soon it will become easier to draw upon the wealth of experience Ammeon has… Stay tuned!


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