Ready for Return

#navigatingthecrisis | Easter 2020

Like all of you, I have several roles in life and I wear different hats in different places. As a family member, I am anxious about this catastrophe and the impact on my life, leisure and my loved ones. This is truly an awful health crisis! Please stay safe!

The me that is a housing association board member / CAB trustee keeps asking the management consultant me:

  • How long will this crisis last?
  • How quickly can we return to normal?
  • Do we need to change our business or service model?

At the moment, none of us know! But that doesn’t mean we should not be more proactive and anticipating more disruption. An economic shock seems likely to follow; experts are arguing whether it is a V or U-shaped recession or a depression. There are possible big changes in social behaviour too: whether work-based culture or changing customer needs especially for the more vulnerable. And given the lack of hardware and the ever-increasing cyber risks, we may end up full circle with another technology challenge!

Resolve | Resilience | Return | Reimagine | Reform

Here at Golden Marzipan where we champion digital transformation, we have adopted the McKinsey 5R framework to structure our guidance to help boards and leaders try and deal with the complexity of the issues. Our starting point is to break this crisis into more manageable chunks. Each stage may vary based on geography and provider profile. Organisations may find themselves managing more than one stage simultaneously.

Feedback from leaders attending our briefings is that most have overcome the initial challenges of setting up remote working and are now building resilience in their staff, services and supply chains. They welcome the 5R structure and bifocal ability to focus on both the present and future!

If you want to know more, please come along to one of our breakfast forums! You’re very welcome to listen and share your own best practices like others have done.

We are here: resilience

Our GM breakfast briefings and round table discussions have shifted. Week one was about getting the best out of connecting and collaborating remotely! The mood was positive: someone commented that “in two and bit weeks the sector had achieved more than had been achieved in the past ten years in adopting new technology!” Who knew it was so easy?!

This week the mood has shifted reflecting the gloomy forums elsewhere (Campbell Tickell, Regulator) and the focus is on people (whether staff or customers) and their mental health resilience! In response, there have been some innovative online mood busting activities but the focus is operational survival!

Feedback about to customer service is in short supply. But ten days ago, only 18% of residents were satisfied with the information they received (source: 24 Housing).

Ready to Return

Some people have started to talk about when lock-down will cease and when we can all return! WE now know we have a least three more weeks of lockdown and many are talking about a phased return, but to what? Some countries have started the return phase, China for example. We should watch out for Italy and Spain as leading indicators of readiness.

We can predict that vulnerable and older persons may face different lock-down conditions and need your support resources the most. Social housing will need to reactivate their repairs supply chain when components, accessories, tools and PPE equipment may be in short supply. Your project management and logistical skill sets will be the most sought after. Maybe your ICT project managers can be diverted for a few weeks?

Re-imagination and Reform

But don’t remove those project managers for too long! It’s time for a different mindset on digital adoption and implementation! The crisis has already written the business case for you:

  • agile, flexible and collaborative workspaces (home or hub)
  • accelerated channel shift – managing the routine tasks and activity
  • outbound telephone and video service channels for vulnerable / older tenants


We have seen and heard that executive / board decision making has been accelerated like never before to deal with the initial lockdown challenges / protocols. The Regulator has signalled that it’s value for money constraints are secondary. So alongside your COBRA style working group looking at resilience and return we would also promote a ‘Look Ahead’ group commissioned to reimagine and reform. Let’s ensure we don’t let previous barriers such as bureaucratic procurement, legacy systems, hoarding data and insufficient resources get in the way!

Contact Us

We believe the five ‘R’ stages described here offer leaders a clear path to begin #navigatingthecrisis and beyond. If you would like a copy of our more detailed  briefing pack then contact me at

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