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Brain circuits

How to rebound when your sector takes a hit: Part two

Published 21 October 2021 in Brain circuits • 3 min read

When you are in a time of crisis, or coming out of one, it is a good time to take stock and look at what you can do to insulate yourself from future market disruptions. There are four steps to this. In part one we looked at how to prepare ahead for hard times. In this article we look at the importance of understanding the environment around you.

This seems like one of the most obvious aspects of developing a strategy, but often when you have a blind spot, you don’t know it.

Even unforeseen disruptions such as the pandemic bring opportunities, not just challenges. As an exercise, ask yourself right now if you can identify how COVID-19 may have positively benefited your industry? Did it help you identify efficiencies? Did you make changes that will benefit your company going forward?

When you seek to understand the environment around you, You need to evaluate two main aspects:

Consider macro-trends: You need to look at different frameworks to understand the macro-trends that might affect your business. These frameworks should include social trends, technological trends, economic trends, environmental trends, and political trends. These are the drivers that can produce important stimuli to inform your decision-making process.

When you identify secular trends, you need to evaluate whether your company is aligned with them. Think of the secular trend of digitalization – companies that did not embrace it before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic found themselves much more exposed than those companies that had already started their digital transformation.

Consider trends within your specific sector: What new factors in your industry could contribute to acceleration of productivity growth? For example, COVID-19, as disruptive as it was, produced things that could contribute to growth in many sectors. In the medical industry for example, it accelerated telemedicine and operational efficiencies.

Disruption can bring benefits, but you need to identify them. You need to ask yourself whether you are missing opportunities that your competitors spot. This ties into the exercise we started with… where did your sector find new opportunities? How is that changing moving forward?

Looking at the COVID-19 pandemic, we see that the companies that had invested in a data-driven process in data acquisition across a variety of industries, those that invested in multiple channels to reach consumers, were in the end the ones that found they had more options to counterbalance the disruptions that occurred


Niccolo Pisani - IMD Professor

Niccolò Pisani

IMD Professor of Strategy and International Business

Niccolò Pisani is Professor of Strategy and International Business at IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland. His award-winning research has appeared in the world’s leading academic journals and extensively covered in the media. His work has been featured in both Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review. He has also written several popular case studies that are distributed on a global scale. At IMD, he is involved in a variety of degree, open, and custom programs. He also co-directs the International Growth Strategies program.


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