North East businesses have been warned to accept that ‘business as usual’ is not going to return any time soon and they should be making plans to adapt now.

Economic conditions are tough, and more disruption is on the way so business leaders must prepare for the challenges, says leading business consultancy AuxinOKR.

“If anyone thinks they are going to return to the way they were trading before the pandemic, then they are in for a rude awakening. Now is the time to take stock, realign and change what matters,” says Peter Kerr, MD of Newcastle-based AuxinOKR.

“I don’t want to sound either negative or alarmist, but we are plunging head-first into unchartered waters. We are surrounded by recessionary pressures and in the UK, we have the added uncertainty of Brexit. Forward-looking businesses need to prepare now, develop a robust strategy to confront today’s challenges as well as the curveballs that are likely to be thrown in the future.”

Some companies and organisations will already be well down the path of reviewing business operations and their strategies for growth, says Peter; for some this might be more about survival than growth. He believes the best leaders will rise to the challenge, make some tough decisions and embrace change.

Peter added: “Companies that embrace change to ensure continued growth and greater operational resilience will be the winners in the years ahead. We believe the adoption of OKRs will be the salvation of many companies. It is a critical thinking framework that turns business strategy into measurable goals.”

OKRs – which stand for objectives and key results – provide a management team and its workforce with focus by setting ambitious goals which are then achieved through specific tasks. Success is measured by the key results which describe the outcomes you want to achieve. Objectives can be very fresh and based on the latest information at a point in time, allowing you to align teams and shift efforts, perfect when the economic world has been turned on its head.

Working in partnership with RTC North, Peter and associate director Piero Alberici and Philip Crocker are presenting a virtual workshop around flexible planning, using OKR techniques. The event – called ‘Change What Matters – Before it’s too late’ has been organised by Supply Chain North East. The 2-hour online morning workshop, on March 19, is intended to help regional businesses build resilience to survive and thrive during these volatile times.