Recently, Texans suffered a tremendous cold snap that left millions with power and thousands without water. Many blamed the power companies and poor policies for the lack of resilience to the unexpected winter temperatures. Others believe progressive weakening of a jet stream due to global warming was the cause. But regardless, none of this changed the fact that residents of the state had few options in response. No one planned for such an event because no one expected it. All they could do is wait and hope for the best, which is never the best strategy.
If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Few saw the global pandemic coming, and those that did weren’t well-prepared either. In the blink of eye, businesses had to create new strategies and structures for their operations. Those with strong corporate resilience structures faired better than those that didn’t. And those with a mesh strategy in place naturally enjoyed greater opportunities to survive if not excel. In all probability, this could have been said of Texans as well. Given the dynamic state of affairs we now find ourselves, perhaps all of us should invest in such a mesh strategy.
“A mesh strategy is where you have is multiple offices, multiple partners, and multiple geographies, with the capacity to go virtual across the whole network. If you do lose something, you still have plenty of strength to your web or your company to adapt.” – Edward Kopko, CEO, Bold Business
Revisiting the Mesh Strategy for Businesses
The term mesh generally refers to a network or an interlaced structure of some sort. In the computer world, mesh networks describe a structure where several “nodes” connect with one another to provide greater performance. Thus, a mesh strategy in the business world describes a similar phenomenon. By having numerous office locations, both physical and virtual, companies enjoy the capacity for greater corporate resilience. No matter what happens in one location, other “nodes” are able to pick up the slack. Companies who had such a structure at the outset of COVID were thus more likely to adapt and survive.
Notably, not every business can have offices in multiple countries or have employees abroad to avoid local problems. But that doesn’t mean they cannot still have a mesh strategy in place. Corporate resilience is about planning for the worst-case scenario and putting structures in place to mitigate risk. Therefore, while creating a multinational corporation may not be feasible, outsourcing some operations afar may be. In essence, this establishes a type of mesh strategy, especially if outsourcing partners are capable of ramping up operations. The key is to have a strong enough network that provides enough corporate resilience needed to weather the storm. (Read more about improving business process success through outsourcing partners in this Bold Business story.)
Mitigating Risks through Diversification
Diversification strategies are not new, and they have been used in finance and even agriculture to reduce risk. In essence, that is what a mesh strategy offers. It provides a broader network that enables geographic diversification. If something changes in one region, then other regions can accommodate the setback. As a result, the entire business handles the stress well because it’s cultivated corporate resilience. Referring back to Texas, a mesh strategy could have been considered by power companies or even policymakers. Back-up power systems, outsourced water supplies, or regional or national partners might have offered better solutions.
The question arises as to why these solutions were not sought after the fact. But as we have realized with the pandemic, finding solutions in the midst of disruption is highly inefficient. Such an approach is not likely to build corporate resilience quickly but instead serve as a distraction to normal operations. Indeed, a mesh strategy and a geographic diversification approach can mitigate risk. But it has to be established in advance not on-the-fly. With such a structure in place when disaster strikes, companies can simply shift gears and move ahead. But without it, they’ll be trying to build gears from scratch, which is not likely to work.
Why a Mesh Strategy is Essential for Today’s Business
At first glance, justifying a mesh strategy amidst a global pandemic may not sound like a great approach. After all, no matter how geographically diversified and connected a company is, COVID struck everywhere. But this offers a limited perspective. Each country and region were affected differently at different times. Some nations had strict lockdowns while others were more lenient. In essence, companies with such a structure in place would have enjoyed much greater corporate resilience. And as the world embraced virtual workplaces, this would have allowed a more disaster-proof plan. (Want to get more in depth about the mesh strategy? Check out this Bold Business story.)
In today’s world, change is abundant and rapid. Over the last decades, technological changes have affected nearly every sector. Likewise, climate changes are resulting in unexpected natural disasters in all parts of the world, perhaps including Texas. Other potential risks involve shifts in economic cycles, cybersecurity threats, and changes in political and social views from place to place. Any one of these could potentially disrupt business operations if all the company’s eggs are in one basket. In an interconnected world, a mesh strategy is the best solution in building corporate resilience to handle such developments.
Want to read more about Bold Business and it’s business process outsourcing services? Check out this link.