Navigating the New Normal

Dean Ditmar | Georgia Oak Partners | May 11, 2020

Navigating a New Normal

Businesses are rapidly adjusting to the changing needs of their employees, customers, and suppliers. Financial and operational challenges are front and center, and companies across the globe are working to cut costs. We are all questioning how to get back to growing our business when this crisis subsides. How do we prepare for the ‘new normal’ as we come out of this pandemic?

Max McKeown, influential author on adaptability and change, said "Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win." The amount of change can be overwhelming, but we are here to help.


Supply chains have taken a hit. Many companies are having their vulnerabilities exposed. Those that rely heavily on a limited number of vendors face a new wave of challenges.

Businesses have little cash on hand. Small and medium sized businesses are struggling to pay workers, which means higher unemployment. Many businesses live “paycheck to paycheck” and declines in consumer demand can tip them into the red.

Consumer purchases are focused primarily on staple products. Consumer confidence is low in this pandemic. If you are a B2C company, how will you make your products appealing in a post-crisis time?

Consumers have shifted to online-only channels. The recent environment has forced consumers to completely turn to online channels.

new business trends are emerging and will remain in place (1)


Understand how market and consumer behaviors have changed and how this impacts your business.

Focus on these 5 key areas to prepare your company for future disruptions and emerge a winner.


Act in Ways that are in Keeping with Your Culture

Culture is guided by purpose and values. Values exhibited by strong cultures are collaboration, agility, integrity, innovation, and accountability. Companies that exhibit a winning culture inspire their employees. Take a moment to reflect on your company’s purpose. A crisis can bring these into sharp focus.

Communicate to customers, employees, and suppliers in a way that is consistent with your values. Communicating openly and empathetically helps customers and employees understand tough decisions.

Use technology to enhance communications and trust during this time. One example is the tool Star Me Up. It’s an online app that lets employees recognize colleagues who have been helpful. Another example is “BeThere”, where people can share photos. These work-appropriate platforms make it possible to keep your brand ambassadors and build upon your culture.

Empathetic leadership and communication

aid human resilience in difficult times.

Know that Remote Working is Here to Stay

COVID-19 forced companies to switch to remote working very quickly. To be successful in the long term, a structured approach is needed. Success requires clear guidelines, new tools and frequent communication. Business leaders need to set up practices to be able to communicate clearly with employees and stakeholders. Communication should include regular feedback rounds.  This improves collaboration and builds necessary trust. Leaders can help employees understand not only why, but also what and how.

Fortunately today, the technical aspects of remote work are much easier. Everything from Google docs, Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype for communication, as well as cloud-based process management tools such as Jira, make life easier.

Secure Your Customers, People and Systems

COVID-19 is forcing companies to work in new ways, and systems resilience is being tested. Companies are operating under a new reality that puts great strain on their systems.

Secure your customers, people and systems wherever they are to counter the bad actors who seek to take advantage during and after a crisis. On the systems side, take actions to secure your cloud solutions, individual devices (BYOD), and 3rd party apps and platforms. Ensure your teams are set up to quickly identify security abnormalities.

On the operations side, be proactive and create a long-term customer-oriented strategy. Examples include bringing in highly skilled, distributed teams that can deliver on customer promises anytime, anywhere. Work to build a long-term, resilient operations.

On the supply-chain side, build redundancy and flexibility. Product-focused businesses should standardize as many components and parts as possible. Service businesses can formalize processes to drive flexibility. Process automation improves flexibility by standardizing time-consuming, high-volume processes with speed and accuracy.

Double Down on Digital Commerce

Those who viewed digital as a secondary channel now need to shift towards a digital commerce mindset. There is an opportunity to focus on digital commerce, enhancing existing offerings and creating new services.

This is an opportunity to grow revenue, attract new customers and drive lower costs, but digital channels need stability and the ability to scale.

Focus on the Customer

Providing compassionate customer service during and post-pandemic will increase brand perception and customer loyalty. Businesses will need to deliver quality customer service and experiences.

Leverage data and analytics to address customer needs and increase customer support. Reprioritize customer support so that the most critical needs are addressed first, with non-critical customer interactions redirected to digital. Consider setting up or enhancing virtual customer care agent capabilities.

Businesses can prepare for "the new normal" as we come out of this pandemic, but winning in the post-pandemic environment requires innovation, resilience, and adaptation in these key areas.

COVID-19 has changed our experiences – as customers, employees, and businesses. Our ability to work together to understand evolving needs and communicate changing demand will get companies through this uncertain time, and help them emerge stronger, wiser and more connected than before.


Georgia Oak Partners: Our History, Your Future

By Camille Cantrell | December 22, 2020

As 2020 draws to a close—and we continue to grapple with the unique challenges and opportunities it has presented all of us—we at Georgia Oak Partners are pausing to reflect on our history as we gear up for the future in 2021. It’s the time of year to count our blessings, give back to others, […]

Choosing a CFO for your Company’s Future

By Camille Cantrell | November 4, 2020

Camille Cantrell | November 4, 2020 Last month, we began our conversation about the importance of filling out your company’s C-Suite the RIGHT way, with the RIGHT leaders. This month we’re taking a deeper dive on an often-overlooked corner of the C-Suite: The Chief Financial Officer. Why Hire a CFO? Hiring a financial leader for […]

From Vision to Reality: Building Your C-Suite Dream Team

By Camille Cantrell | September 29, 2020

By: Darren Miller The process of transitioning from shouldering the entire burden of leadership to relying on a more robust team can be one of the most challenging aspects of owning a business. It is a natural roadblock in the pursuit of growth. Georgia Oak brings to the table a team of experienced executives and […]

Miked Up: Volume 3, Practical Business Actions During COVID

By Darren Miller | August 27, 2020

In Volume 3 of Miked Up, Darren Miller welcomes Dr. Mike Miller, Ph.D., D(ABMM) to discuss the practical actions that business owners can and need to do to provide returning employees with a safe working environment, how to plan for and what to do if an employee(s) tests positive and some of the resources every […]

COVID-19 Leadership with Page Siplon, CEO of TeamOne Logistics

By Camille Cantrell | August 27, 2020

As the CEO of TeamOne Logistics, communication with my “work family” has always been a top priority.  In our office, I “walk the corners” daily and check-in with all of my team to keep up with any challenges they may be facing, both on or off the job.  I try to remind myself to speak […]

Culture Shifts during COVID-19 and Beyond

By Camille Cantrell | August 27, 2020

By: Camille Cantrell, Marketing Manager  Beyond Remote Work: COVID-19 Culture Challenges Since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020, much of our focus has necessarily been on logistics: the nuts and bolts of reorganizing the workplace. As companies scrambled to continue operations as safely as possible, health guidelines have changed the physical layout of […]

Miked Up Volume 2, Part 1 – Organizational Diversity

By Darren Miller | July 23, 2020

Miked Up is a series of videos where we speak candidly with the brightest minds and most experienced executives in the Georgia business community. Our goal of these conversations is to provide business owners with not only great information from highly respected leaders, but to also bring a local perspective from those in our community […]


By Camille Cantrell | July 23, 2020

Dean Ditmar, Operating Partner | July 23, 2020 Overall, the June Jobs Report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflected the expected chaos across the employment market, along with clear evidence of continued improvement related to the reopening of many sectors of the economy. Payrolls were up by 4.8 million, with many job gains […]

Harnessing the Power of Technology

By Camille Cantrell | June 16, 2020

Darren Miller | Georgia Oak Partners | June 16, 2020 If Covid-19 has done anything positive for businesses, it has forced them to rethink business as usual strategies and realize the benefits of fast-tracking digital transformation. Out of sheer necessity, technological advancements we’ve been considering for nearly a decade were kicked into high gear in […]

Virtual Communication in Uncertain Times

By Camille Cantrell | June 16, 2020

Camille Cantrell | Georgia Oak Partners | June 16, 2020 The Brave New(ish) World of Virtual Communication As the COVID-19 pandemic hit around the world this spring, many leaders were forced into a sudden, intense relationship with virtual technology to keep their teams together. Many office workers will continue to work remotely until the COVID-19 […]