Our Client needed to restructure its business model to deal with the financial consequences of the pandemic- Vic Pretorius, Senior Advisor Aeger Group AS
Understanding the client's requirement
During the Covid-19 pandemic, our client, a major multinational natural resource organisation, needed to restructure its business model to deal with the financial consequences of the pandemic. However, this was faced with opposition from a multitude of stakeholders. This included the national government; threatening expropriation should the proposed plan be implemented.
The most viable option would be facilitating an amicable sales process from the client's perspective. However, this would require a significant shift in stakeholder perception and strategic repositioning of the organisation.
Our strategy-driven approach
The solution we provided was information-driven, risk-centred, proactive, and designed to facilitate continuous improvement throughout the process.
· Business continuity support: Provided through a combination of risk analysis, intelligence support structures and stakeholder analysis to actively position the organisation.
· Emergency preparedness support: Review and amend existing plans and protocols and advise on appropriate escalation levels through predetermined triggers.
· Evacuation support: Provision of evacuation support structures that allows for the timely and safe evacuation of expatriate staff to international destinations.
· Physical security guidance: Provide physical security guidance, including travel security for travellers, security protocols for resident employees, and securing assets.
· Strategic guidance: Analysis of all relevant information, perceptions, stakeholders, processes, and comparison with strategic objectives of variable parties to shape a viable response and reposition the organisation to face contingencies.
Making sense of the challenges we faced
We faced many challenges and complex issues. Based on this, we needed to understand the whole situation, what was required from our customer's organisation, and how we could best advise our customer and effectively support their decision-making. Here are some of the challenges:
· A short timeframe to assess the situation, establish a viable approach and produce results.
· Cultural differences between the various stakeholders.
· Expectation management – the stakeholders involved had different expectations, and a shared understanding needed to be introduced for the process to move forward.
· Intimidation and victimisation of senior management.
· Union pressure – strikes and rioting.
· Discontentment from communities and sporadic protest action and land invasions.
· Disinformation and negative media coverage towards the client leading to reputational damage.
· A siloed management structure – a lack of cooperation between departments and managers.
· Socio-economic factors actively driving criminality within the sub-region.
Our approach allowed the client to proactively reposition the organisation to permit a safe divestment process endorsed by all relevant stakeholders, sustain business objectives and safeguard its reputation.
Establishing our mutual objectives
Our primary objective was to reposition the organisation as fast as possible to allow negotiations to continue openly and transparently without external pressure or interference.
· Maintain a safe and secure working environment for employees, dependents and service providers during subsequent negotiation and transition phases.
· Effectively positioning the organisation to allow the business to continue as normal (business continuity).
· Enable and effectively drive the organisational strategy forward.
· Understand the stakeholder and social landscapes to provide strategic guidance.
· Allow the organisation to effectively negotiate without unforeseen external pressure.
A major multinational natural resource organisation.