Covid-19 will be the great protagonist of all companies’ offsite meetings where leadership teams must not only develop the FY21 recovery strategy but also come up with a feasible implementation plan. It is well-known that team strategy offsite meetings are expensive and time-consuming but can provide a great environment for team building and alignment. First challenge for FY21’s offsite meetings is planning and how to address team building within a remotely meeting framework since most the dynamics to strengthen bonding within teams are residential. Another aspect to consider is how to achieve alignment with a high level of uncertainty and wide range of diversity in local situations. Many companies will have to defy their former centralized strategies and think outside of the box to develop the right FY21 recovery strategy to cope with Covid-19 crisis. However, after finding an effective remote way of team building and coming to terms with the possibility of having a decentralized FY21 recovery strategy tailormade for each region and perhaps even adapted by country, the offsite meetings will face the challenge to establish their current state, define a possible future state that could be achieved in FY21 and finally develop a feasible target state roadmap to accomplish their goals within the expected time framework. Since Covid-19 might have trigged business continuity plans (BCP) in many companies, the transition from the BCP to the new target operating model (TOM) must be included within offsite meeting agenda. But which are the keys not only to build an agile strategy and execution but also develop required leadership style?

Where we are right now with Covid-19’s crisis?

First and foremost, most offsite meetings start with an analysis of the former fiscal year where each leader presents department’s most important outcomes. Moreover, figures are not only presented but also discussed with the other leaders and CEO to deep dive into the result and understand their drivers. Furthermore, reflections about what has been going well and which are the most important improvement opportunities are not only shared by each presenter but also delivered as feedback by the team. During FY21 offsite meetings, there will be two completely different situations before and after Covid-19’s crisis, in most cases not even comparable. What is worst, the bottom line after the crisis will be based on highly variable information coming from a couple of months which is not at all a solid baseline. Therefore, leaders must focus on the after Covid-19 scenario in which their organizations are right now and then try not only to describe sales, competitors and market trends, but also which are the main drivers to create value for shareholders, customers and employees in the current situation based on little available information and most of all on their experience and productive discussions between the leadership team.

What is possible for us to achieve in FY21?

If establishing where the organization is standing right now with highly variable data from only a couple of months was difficult, define what is possible to achieve for the organization in FY21 will prove to be an even greater challenge. Firstly, the organization must decide if a centralized strategy is the best course of action with the hight diversity that is seen in local situations. Moreover, the evolution of local realities seems not only to follow different paths but also time frameworks. Therefore, a decentralized FY21 recovery strategy almost tailormade by region and even country will prove to be highly beneficial for almost all organization. Secondly, forecasts’ time framework must also be adapted to cope with the high level of variability observed during Covid-19’s crisis. Thus, instead of having an annual business plan with quarterly walkthroughs and monthly projections, the organization must shorten the forecast horizon as well as its revision period. The key about what can be achieve in FY21 will rely more on agility than alignment, hence, besides flexible goals, organizational readiness must be created to rapidly innovate around new market needs and make the most of each opportunity within organization’s reach.

How we can navigate throughout Covid-19’s crisis?

Once the gap between where the organization is standing right now in the middle of the Covid-19’s crisis and what is possible to achieve in FY21 through a sensible recovery strategy, a feasible target state roadmap must be developed. To begin with, it is essential not only define the effective actions to achieve expected goals but also ensure ownership within the leadership team because agreements made during offsite meetings can be short-lived and easily lost when each of them move back into their day-to-day operations. What is more, an agile leadership is of fundamental importance to guarantee that the organization will be pursuing its goals and deploying the FY21 recovery plan in spite of uncertainty. Furthermore, resilience must be built in leaders to walkthrough this crisis and reach out the light at the other side of the tunnel. Therefore, offsite meetings must produce as outcomes not only an agile FY21 recovery strategy and deployment plan but also the right kind of leadership, with flexible leaders able to cope with uncertainly and change but yet stable and resilient to walkthrough their teams and the organization all the way throughout Covid-19’s crisis. To conclude, I would like to remind that “Crisis” in Chinese is composed of two characters, one represents danger and the other opportunity, whether organizations and its people will be exposed to the former or opened to the latter will be heavily rely on leadership.

Thanks for Reading.

Marcelo Sauro is an internationally experienced performance and improvement senior manager. He holds an Executive MBA and Master of Science degrees and has helped people and organizations to transform themselves. Not only he led E2E transformations in Global Business Services, R&D, Supply Chain and Finance organizations at all levels within the LATAM and EMEA Regions, but he is also experienced in several industries including Life Science, Healthcare, Insurance, Fintech, Technology, Telecoms, FMCG, Chemicals, Automotive, Energy and Mining. Since 2015, he has been researching and developing content in agile and resilience through Value Ways, while working under contract for customers such as MetLife, Novartis, Vertiv (Emerson NP) and Experian among others. Previously, he worked for more than 7 years as Master Black Belt for a LATAM-based consulting group, which had ASQ, Qualtec and Oriel as business partners. Prior to that, he worked for more than 10 years at BASF and GSK in positions of growing responsibility in the area of Operational Excellence. Marcelo is currently working at Ferring's “International PharmaScience Center” (IPC) for the Global R&D organization in Copenhagen. To find out more please visit

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