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Little Find

Virus management

What has the ability to spread very quickly, is transmitted through contact, and is extremely harmful? Bad managerial habits, according to Freek Vermeulen.

Long before Covid-19, Vermeulen compared bad managerial habits to a virus: at best inefficient and at worst actually dangerous, they spread quickly from one organization to another via consultants and interactions among members of different corporate boards. The comparison stops there. Once health authorities had identified the Covid-19 threat, they took measures to limit its transmission and search for cures. As for companies, they happily spread bad managerial habits, failing to recognize their long-term, destructive effects. This makes it all the more difficult to walk back these habits.

Why not make the most of this health crisis to eradicate bad practices altogether? Crises are great vectors for innovation: given that traditional processes, methods, and sources of revenue are put on the back foot, you have to find alternative solutions. These might be temporary last resorts, or become permanent if they turn out to be more appropriate than business as usual. One study by University College London showed that 20 percent of subway users, forced to alter their journeys during strikes, stuck with the new routes even after the strikes were over. They felt they were more efficient. What new managerial practices will you put in place after the Covid-19 crisis?

To go further :

Freek Vermeulen, Corporate viruses and bad management practices(TEDx London Business School, 2016) 


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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.