• Daniel Macaria

These are extraordinary times!

COVID-19 is impacting our lives in ways that tell us we are truly living in extraordinary times. Our family and social obligations have drastically changed as we adapt to the so-called new 'normal.' We are changing fast as we adjust to the unique circumstances - or the new circumstances are changing us. Either way, the change is inevitable!

In the business world, organizations must rely on knowledge workers and technology to get the job done. Furthermore, they must strive to find new ways of aligning their general management capability with strategy, at different levels of business environment turbulence. The goal is to make the organization effective in meeting its obligations to the stakeholders.

The new normal, after covid-19, should bring out the best in us. Moving forward will require quick thinking and fast adaptation to an extremely fast changing environment. Let us look at what is happening around us already:

Companies are asking employees to work from home. Whereas many advanced economies recognize the legitimacy of people working from home, the idea is relatively new here at home. In other economies, working from home for a one- or two-persons' business was a usual practice long before the Covid-19 arrived. In the USA, for example, a person can claim tax relief for the business space if operating from home.

Considering that one is likely to be more productive working from home, shouldn't the Kenyan employer feel duty-bound to pay for the home-based office space? The company can then claim the home-based office cost on its tax returns. In the same token, shouldn't home-based businesses be able to claim the cost of the home space in their tax returns?

As the business environment continues to change rapidly, business organizations - government and private alike - will have to adopt new ways of doing business and managing enterprises. The old styles of management are unsuited for the fast-changing 21st century.

The after Covid-19 new 'normal' makes it imperative for institutions and businesses to seek new ways of managing. Some are already moving ahead and making changes by developing target operating models (TOM) and competency frameworks for different job classes with the hope of improving performance.

Managing people from afar will require a new mindset. Competency-based performance management will take new dimensions. Employees' performance will be judged by how well their behavior aligns with the job class or job group's competence framework. The OD practitioner has the tools and the know-how to help the organization place employees in job classes where they are most effective in practicing behaviors that fit the job class's competence framework.

In the coming weeks, I will be discussing organization development as an appropriate process of improving the organization's effectiveness.

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