The COVID-19 Survival Recipe

►The COVID-19 Survival Recipe◄


On March 2, 2020 we were retained by a large long-term client with headquarters near Milan, Italy to assist their 500-year old global enterprise with surviving and then recovering from the global COVID-19 pandemic. Since that date 9 other U S and international enterprises have sought our assistance while accepting that this situation in all likelihood changes everything, or almost everything.

Because we were founded in 1992, the recipe presented here results from lessons observed by us while assisting clients with their survival and recovery from the events of 9/11 in New York City, as well as their survival and recovery best practices already gleaned from the current global pandemic.

What Ron Epstein stated above is a microcosm of what nearly every enterprise in 185 countries now faces or will soon face, that being the challenge of re-entry into a business environment requiring a more holistic and refined approach to business survival and success most likely on a permanent basis. Many airline and most other enterprise habits have now been changed permanently in the interests of business revival and survival.  Former business habits are now being replaced by newly important survival methods and necessities.

Each enterprise is unique based upon its own attributes such as geographic location(s), industry, national culture, size, operating distribution, supply chains, regulatory influences, ownership structure, customers, competitors, finances, and executive capabilities. So out of necessity we are providing this guide in a generalized form applicable to all businesses affected by recent events.  Minor adjustments to this recipe may be necessary for the purposes of your enterprise, but it will be important for you to know the downside in advance of not doing most or all of this.

Below are the nearly universal business survival subjects now requiring the attention of nearly all business in the 14 countries within which our clients exist as proven by what we and they learned in 2001 and are now learning once again 19 years later.


Your business recovery and in most cases its survival will soon be contingent on the topics below and how you as an executive as well as your entire enterprise resurrect itself.  Each is easier and less expensive to implement if most or all are applied.

In geographic areas and within supply and customer chains where COVID-19 exists, these survival recipe ingredients apply to all industries, enterprises, countries, ownership structures, enterprise sizes and national cultures:

  • “Business Normal” as defined prior to January 21, 2020 is permanently behind us.  A new business normal will now be created and each enterprise will be well-served by participating actively in its creation.
  • Your supply chain, defined for this purpose as the sources of all of your COGS items, must recover before your enterprise will be able to do so.
  • Human inefficiencies in your enterprise will return first if allowed, preventing required new efficiencies from forming and launching.  Those earlier inefficiencies will now be extremely easy to recognize thus simplifying their elimination.
  • Pursuit of revenue and reasonable margin growth will be required as the price of admission to recovery and survival. Detours such as group think, committee decision-making, diversity, humility, fun, inclusion, sabbatical leaves, and being an employer of choice among others will dramatically slow or prevent recovery and survival.
  • Assuming your enterprise has undertaken lay-off’s and/or furloughs, 4% to 9% of those employees will never return…including some of your biggest contributors.
  • For employees receiving unemployment compensation in the USA, over 80% of those paid less than about $43,000 per year will have no intention of returning to work in the near term because they now receive an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits above usual state benefit levels, for 4 months.
  • Unemployment now averages 17% in the 185 countries grappling with COVID-19, making hiring people more instead of less risky for the next 18 to 36 months.
  • On average only 37% of position types can be performed remotely while only 13% of employees are capable of working productively on a remote basis. Remote workers must include only your most skilled and productive workers, and remote work monitoring is now a necessity. Construction workers, airline pilots, surgeons, retail managers, paramedics and food service workers among many other position types cannot work remotely and should not request to do so while being paid.
  • Continuous health screening, generally daily for COVID-19, will be a necessity for 18 to 36 months.  This should occur at building entrance(s) that are different from building exit(s).
  • Teamwork is now defined as including little or no physical proximity and interaction.  Many employees will not transition successfully to this newly required teaming model due to the limiting belief that being a team member is founded upon close interactions such as meetings, eye contact, and huddles.
  • Physical meeting frequency, length and size is now required to be reduced by 70 to 90 percent for health and safety reasons.  The reinforcement for this change will be your future observation that 70 to 90 percent of group meetings including more than 2 people have been non-beneficial to customers and labor expense for a very long time.
  • Domestic and international air travel is required to be reduced by 70% (domestic) to 90% (international), in all likelihood permanently. Technology began making most business travel unnecessary beginning in 2007.
  • No business activity or behavior that has a measurable likelihood of resulting in illness or death to others is a right or defensible habit held by any individual(s).  These behaviors include handshakes, hugs, coming to work when sick, lost coffee mugs, coughing, etc.
  • Business inefficiency results largely from slow human speed and slow decision-making. Enterprise recovery and survival will now largely be directly correlated with increased human efficiency and decision-making speed. The first step is delegation of authority to highly capable individuals instead of to groups.
  • Workplace redesign is now a necessity in nearly 35% of workplaces. Think distance and cubicles once again, without cafeterias and coffee bars.
  • Break rooms and kitchens are now not desirable for at least 18 to 36 months.
  • Employees at all levels now need to be consistently provided with personal protective equipment consisting of masks and sanitizer at a minimum.
  • Fear of attending to work absent infectious evidence and clear infection risk is not a valid work absence excuse.  Enterprises paying for fear is frequently what motivates fear.
  • Differing employee health and safety measures are required based upon all local regulations.
  • Rapid diagnostic testing is required if an employee becomes ill, exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, or indicates he or she may be ill with COVID-19.  Having internal or short notice testing capacity is a necessity.
  • Carpooling is out of necessity discontinued indefinitely.  Shared workspace without masks is as well.
  • The primary roles of all supervisors, managers and executives is to ensure full business recovery by consistently stating facts, earning trust, and building confidence.
  • Each workplace requires a named COVID-19 management team sentinel with decision-making authority on all aspects of that subject.
  • Random temperature and symptom screening are now widely occurring on a frequent basis during working hours and are very highly recommended. This is also expected to occur for 18 to 36 months.
  • Your enterprise should not expand paid time off policies largely because the last pandemic was 103 years ago. This one will pass well within the next 103 years.
  • Pandemics kill some people.  But they are also exceptionally effective at separating leaders from managers, and contributors from those who contribute little. Make note now of who your leaders and biggest contributors are for development and succession planning purposes.  These times are the best possible test of what you, your boss, and your team members are made of.
  • People have vastly different levels of current anxiety along with vastly different styles of expressing it. Ensuring that all employees are focused upon enterprise objectives is highly therapeutic for the purpose of mitigating personal anxiety.

Our full list of solutions on this COVID-19 subject is actually much longer than presented above, with the above subjects being many of those widely reinforced since 9/11/01 and again since 3/2/20.

We encourage you to reflect upon and make use of many or all of them to ensure that the inevitable reverberations of the current pandemic during the next 18 to 36 months may be eliminated in your little or big corner of the business world.

This pandemic will continue to make unpleasant music that none of us have ever heard before, and preventing its spread is the only way to turn its volume down.


Please Contact us or call us at 1-480-467-0344 (USA) so that we may clarify or answer your questions on any of the above subjects.

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