Emerging stronger from the Covid-19 impact - Operating model lessons from the fast paced world of Formula 1

Emerging stronger from the Covid-19 impact – Operating model lessons from the fast paced world of Formula 1

New rules, new challenges, ready for the unknown. Formula 1 has long been looked upon as an industry where the teams thrive or fail based on their ability to continuously identify and deliver the smallest of improvements in performance.

But there is an external force that acts as a leveller across the paddocks; every season the F1 governing body applies new rules and regulations that must be adhered to, from safety and design features to tyres and dimensions. So, no matter how big your budget is, you can only do so much to get one up on the other teams.

This is all put in place to keep the sport competitive and ensure races don’t become boring, with one or two teams dominating every season. This, in turn, gives fans the excitement they’re seeking and advertisers the eyeballs they’re willing to pay for.

So what does this have to do with the situation firms like yours find themselves in?

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When the F1 governing body lays down the new season’s rules, with budgets capped, the teams already have an operating model that goes into action to use the best talent they can afford to analyse every piece of data they have at a micro-level and to then work as a well-oiled machine to bring to reality the best car possible to meet the challenge of the season ahead.

And once they have their hugely powerful, highly tuned cars ready to race, the laser focus of the business and every team member stays in place, from pit crew to operations and drivers, all playing their role to keep squeezing every extra piece of performance out of the vehicles.

We know that Covid-19 has hit the economy hard and the ‘teams’ in it with an unexpected blow, but in reality, this is an opportunity to look at your operating model and double down on what you need to do in order to get back to being able to compete in the market, as well as instilling a way of working across your business that ingrains an ethos of continual improvement within your team members.

And that’s why we’ve put this guide together. You need to act fast and this will give you a direction to start, as well as giving you an insight into how we think and how we at Transforming IT can help you get back on track.

Planning your route to financial stability and growth.

With TIME and MONEY being the two key aspects that pretty much drive the imperatives in business, your strategy to reach pre-COVID 19 financial stability and growth depends on:

  • How deep the financial impact of COVID-19 is on your business?
  • How long will it take your business to recover?


Depending upon the degree of impact, our CV-19 Recovery Strategy Grid gives an indication of whether your discussions need to focus on an approach to reimagine, replan or restructure your strategy…or just keep reassuring everyone around you.

Are you positioned for successful change?

Our experience, as well as the success stories of many, many companies across all industries, shows that your IT operating model and the technology infrastructure you’re running are critical to your performance and key enablers to successfully changing tack when you need to.

As with the set-up of Formula 1 teams, continuous improvement should be embedded in the way your organisation operates, because not only does it keep you striving forward, taking advantage of every gain you can find, but it also embeds a way of working that expertly analyses your situation and can plan and undertake the changes needed to not just survive, but thrive when even the most unexpected challenges are faced.

This is where you now get your first reality check. How well has your organisation been able to address the threats it is facing from the Covid-19 situation? Is it able to work as a collective team, using your IT operating model and current technology infrastructure to proactively plan and deliver a way forward?

If you still have question marks over what you can do to recover and grow, that needs to act as a red flag to you and your senior leadership team. It is a warning that your previous model of working, and possibly the approach to technology is way off what it needs to be for you to address the current situation, let alone to be competitive through the next decade.

This isn’t necessarily to say that you need to be thinking about heavy investment and ripping out and replacing with new, but what it does mean is that you need to review your IT operations in line with your strategy to move forward, identifying the gaps to success and planning your route of change.

The answer? Bring out the best traits of the COVID-19 Generation – common goal and collective effort.

Embed an understanding of common goals to give purpose and direction, not just for now, but to also paint the picture of how this will help the organisation succeed way into the future.

And to address those still focusing on self, clarify the outcome of a collaborative effort for everyone at an individual level and set the expectation of how all stakeholders need to engage in the process to put a marker in the sand of pulling together.

This isn’t achieved with a simple message, it needs to be managed from a place of knowledge and with this being an essential change to your way of working, external facilitators with expertise in the subject matter and no emotional connection to your business, are best positioned to oversee and guide the journey.

Keeping generational traits in check.

So, if you’re not already on track to get back to performing, what can be done…and what do you need to be aware of in terms of team dynamics?

We developed the CV-19 Recovery Strategy Grid so it can be used across all areas of your business at any level, to bring clarity on what needs to be done to survive and grow, from which point you can build your action plan to succeed.

Although we’re a technology operating model specialist, we recognise that you need to first apply the model to your overall organisation, because this will provide you with the basis for an adapted or new top level strategy.

From the point you have a renewed top-level strategy, each of your departments and divisions need to undertake the same process. Do they need to reimagine, replan or restructure…or will they be able to deliver their part of the new strategy by just continuing to reassure?

This may well be a big step change for some of your team, and although the current situation has generated much more of an attitude of a common goal and collective effort from what might, in the future, be called the Covid-19 Generation, people will still be highly sensitive to their personal situation and the pressing urgency to get a solution in place to benefit themselves and their family first…and then the wider community.

Alongside this, there needs to be consideration of the typical leadership team make up; Generation X and Generation Y (millennials), and their generational traits. A number of studies have shown that when it comes to making decisions, there could well be some ulterior motives under the surface that could get in the way of defining the true, best way forward at the pace you need it to be done.

Adrian Wakefield - Emerging stronger from the Covid - 1

* Baby Boomer – 1940-1959
* Gen X – 1960-1979
* Gen Y (millennial) – 1980-1994
* Gen Z – 1995-2010

Common Goal, collective effort

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Basis for moving forward at pace.

Just to recap:
* The depth of financial impact and expected time to recover from Covid-19 will define if your organisation needs to re-imagine, re-plan, re-structure or reassure.
* This approach should then be applied to all areas of the company to understand what actions need to be taken.
* During the process, it’s essential that individual egos and ulterior motives are pushed aside and the common goal and collective effort ethos of Gen-COVID needs to be harnessed.
* Technology will be key to successfully delivering whatever renewed strategy and approach you identify.

Adrian Wakefield - Emerging stronger from the Covid - 2

When you have widespread trust in each other’s capabilities, conversations that drive this essential revitalisation process are far quicker, deliver far more effective results and very often deliver far higher lifetime value of any investments.

Checking the gaps between what you have and what you need.

The situation we find ourselves in now has stressed all areas of industry and all areas of your business. Thinking about taking the next steps to move forward successfully:

  • What is the reality of your IT infrastructure and is your operating model positioned to help take the steps forward?
  • Is it a leading light in your market, or is the reality more that it’s dated and wasn’t delivering what you really needed even before the Covid-19 situation?

Adrian Wakefield - Emerging stronger from the Covid - 4

Clarity brings reality, and it’s from this viewpoint that you’ll really start to understand what approach to take regarding the technology you need navigate your journey, be it to reimagine, replan or restructure or just reassure.

Your plan to formulate effective growth.

When you need to act quickly, a model to identify what your next step should be is only part of what’s required.

To rapidly adapt, you also need a proven and structured process that will guide key members of your organisation through the stages required to gain a deep understanding of exactly what you need to do, how you’re going to do it and when you need it to be done.

We’ve developed this 5 phase process to enable us to focus our industry-wide experience on helping you address your specific situation and transform your IT operating model.

In a short time, you can bring clarity and detail to your plan of action including roles and responsibilities, technology needs and critical milestones.

Adrian Wakefield - Emerging stronger from the Covid - 3

Start conversations that will guide your success path

Every successful journey starts with a conversation, so that is exactly what you need to do right now.

We hope this guide has given you food for thought and a direction for conversations within your leadership team regarding where you really sit, where you need to be and what you need to do to get there.

Remembering that a conversation can deliver huge value in terms of clarity and guidance to whatever you are looking to achieve, now is the time for you to speak with an external expert to get insight on how to best move forward.

Successful digital transformation is a matter of knowledge and access to the best talent. We connect you to both.Click for more.

Our team has many years of experience facilitating conversations that make sure the right questions are asked, points of view are challenged and decisions are made at pace so change can be initiated and delivered in the timescales you need.

We’re ready to talk, so let’s set a time and get you lined up on the starting grid.

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