Efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses need management tools to overcome difficulties

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing great losses to businesses all around the world in general, and Vietnamese businesses in particular. Therefore, in order to survive and maintain business operations in the “new normal”, leaders must have thoughts and take actions beyond the traditional way, by using management tools. modern. To help businesses gain more in-depth perspectives on this topic, the Reporter of the Business – Entrepreneur Program (VTV1), Vietnam Television had an interview with Dr. Duong Thu, Director of Institute for Strategic Leadership Development Research, a consultant and corporate training expert.

TS. Dương Thu – Viện trưởng Viện Nghiên cứu Phát triển Lãnh đạo Chiến lược.
Dr. Duong Thu, Director of Institute for Strategic Leadership Development Research

Reporter: The COVID-19 outbreak has turned everything upside down, traditional business models are so outdated…  that businesses from small scale to large corporations all assume that Corporate restructuring is a matter of survival. So from that point, the question is: What are the objectives of restructuring and how to restructure? Can you please give a brief recommendation to Vietnamese businesses on this topic?

Dr. Duong Thu: First and foremost, businesses should make it clear that the post-Covid-19 business environment will be far more different from the current and previous one. Therefore, they need to proactively restructure the business model in an inclusive way to adapt with what so-called “the new normal”. Then, they must define the right objective and suitable process for the restructuring instead of being sentimental or following the crowd. 

The main objective of restructuring is to implement the business strategy. Strategy must be the destination of system restructuring. Thus, businesses need to shift their strategies in accordance with the double-S-curve model, in other words “buying boards, selling boats”.

Malik double S-curves help businesses position the present and navigate the future. The uniqueness of this Model is that it shows all three development strategies of each organization/enterprise simultaneously: the red curve (current strategies), the green curve (future strategies), and the “intersection zone” (conversion strategies).

Figure 1: The Great Transformation – profound change through innovation

(Source: Fredmund Malik, Effective Management in a Great Transformation World, Thanh Nien Publishing, 2017)

Reporter: It can be said that you strongly believe in the benefits of the 2-S-curve model for Vietnamese businesses, can you explain more about the origin of this model to the audiences?

Dr. Duong Thu: Malik double S-curves model is developed by Prof. Fredmund Malik the world’s leading expert in systems management and cybernetics, management and leadership, with the purpose of addressing the challenges of society/organization and business in the “Great Transformation of the 21st Century”. The 2S-curves model consists of 2 paths placed on the top of each other: the red path and the green path. The red S-curve represents the path of the old system and foundation, which is the current development in business. Businesses can prolong the life of this system a little more, but eventually it will go into recession. Meanwhile, the new system is represented by the green S-curve, which is the path of future optimal development, towards the new world.Between the two main roads is a key decision-making region, where businesses and organizations are required to make big and rapid shifts in order to operate effectively in the New World. This is the great challenge of organizations, when they need to make change, but face skepticism and uncertainty.

TS. Dương Thu tại cuộc trao đổi với phóng viên chương trình Doanh nghiệp – Doanh nhân
Dr. Duong Thu at the interview with the reporter of Doanh nghiep-Doanh nhan program

Reporter: As you said, the cooperation with Malik Institute, Switzerland will help Sleader accompany Vietnamese businesses in overcoming the difficult period of the post-COVID-19 era. Why do you have such confidence?

Dr. Duong Thu: Right from the very first day of establishment, Sleader was laid the the mission of accompanying and helping businesses to find a distinct development path to achieve sustainably outstanding achievements. To achieve this, Sleader has developed new knowledge and a new approach to strategy in the context of the close cooperation between the East and the West. For instance, Sleader has published a book called “ Decoding East – West Strategy” to provide businesses with an analysis of 17 strategic paradoxes that businesses are struggling to find solutions for. 

Therefore, Sleader has  been chosen as strategic partner by Malik Institute, Switzerland, the world-leading organization in system thinking, effective management and leadership, and transferred a majority of world-class management tools and models, which are the double S-curves model (mentioned above), Malik Sensitivity Model, Management system assessment software (MSA) and especially Malik Syntegration, a  management tool, whose discovery is likened to the invention of the smartphone.

With the ownership and proficient use of management tools transferred from the Malik Institute, Switzerland, in addition to a practical, in-depth strategic approach, plus an understanding of the environment and culture business in Vietnam, Sleader is confident to consult Vietnamese businesses to successfully transform in the post-COVID-19 period.

Reporter: Would you mind sharing more about the Syntegration, a new modern tool, and would it be able to be applied broadly in Vietnam? 

Dr. Duong Thu: Syntegration is the world-class modern administrative tool in Europe, the invention of which is compared with the smartphone or non-invasive surgery. This method has been applied more than 1,000 times by businesses and organizations in the world, such as the Airbus Group, BMW, Folksvagen, Daimler… Malik Syntegration helps optimize meetings and discussions, maximize collective intelligence to comprehensively and quickly solve complex problems of all organizations and enterprises. Organization’s challenges are presented through open-ended questions and will be discussed throughout the Syntegration session. For example, an open-ended question could be:

  • What does ABC Company need to do to achieve a revenue of 10,000 billion and in 2025?
  • What does XYZ City need to do to become a Smart City in 2030?
  • What does ABC University need to do to be in the Top 500 World Universities after 5 years?

In Vietnam, Syntegration was applied at GDC Group in October 2020, with the open question: “How can GDC achieve a revenue of VND 5,000 billion and be in the Top 10 construction enterprises in Vietnam in 2025?”. When experiencing the specific processes and activities that GDC Group\’s Syntegration sessions related to strategy development, I can affirm that Syntegration is an outstanding technology for governance that Vietnamese businesses are still lacking. Step-by-step, from evocative to in-depth thinking, the Syntegration makes all participants excitedly engage in the session to solve common business problems. Through the Syntegration, key officials clearly defined their roles as insiders and co-authors of the development strategy. Therefore, they committed and unanimously brought GDC Group to reach a revenue of VND 5,000 billion and be one of the Top 10 construction enterprises in Vietnam by 2025.

Reporter: Obviously, the right road will lead to a bright future. In the current difficult economic environment, what suggestions and recommendations do you have for businesses, as well as partners that Sleader is and will be aiming for?

Dr. Duong Thu: Firstly, there is one phrase that I would like to suggest to businesses to choose as their motto of actions in the complicated time of Covid-19 pandemic, which is PROACTIVE TRANSFORMATION. Do not expect the old world to return, businesses must realize this is an opportunity for them and promptly make decisions. 

Up to now, not all managers are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. Many people want to reduce complexity and make things easier. This is the wrong response. Instead,  those who are able to respond well to the unexpected have more options, more opportunities for growth.

However, the transformation must be done in accordance with a roadmap outlined by business leaders themselves. It is worth noting that businesses must not imitate each other, but they must rely on core competencies and be distinguished to be able to create their own position and be successful in a sustainable way.

Reporter: Thank you very much. 

The full scripts of the interview can be viewed here.

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