“After the pandemic … recovery is possible”

September 28, 2020
Lisa Weighton

When it comes to post-pandemic recovery, Yvette Mucharraz y Cano could tell you which business are more likely to bounce back, and which could potentially fail.

Thriving has little to do with chance, says the Doctor of Social Sciences student and professor at Ipade Business School in Mexico City.

The difference, she says, is organizational resilience.

“After the pandemic, it will take time to recover fully… but recovery is possible,” she says.

That’s the topic of her recent Harvard Business Review article How Resilient Organizations Respond to Catastrophes and Sept. 30 webinar, also hosted by HBR. Her article has also been published in HBR’s latest book, Insights you need from Harvard Business Review: Climate Change.

Mucharraz’s research points to three distinct phases in dealing with catastrophes: anticipation, coping and adaptation.

While there’s no way of knowing when an earthquake, environmental disaster or global pandemic may strike, leaders can take steps to mitigate risk of “high consequence, low probability” events, she says.

“Addressing the psychological needs of the employees, including the grieving process, and how the organization promotes wellbeing, is fundamental to be ready for different types of disasters,” she says.

While preparedness action is key, it’s not too late for businesses to act now when it comes to post-pandemic recovery, she says.

“Resilient organizations can act before, during and after a disaster,” she says.

Business continuity plans are fundamental, Mucharraz notes, as well as strengthening the human connection among the organizational community members, while cooperating with other organizations to build sustainable networks.

“Inter-sectoral alliances have been very good for organizations to survive and support the workforce,” she says. “Part of the learnings from my research are also associated with the importance of reflecting and learning, and [I’ve seen] how organizations that were immersed in this process, were more likely to thrive.”

Read How Resilient Organizations Respond to Catastrophes and learn more about the Sept. 30 webinar hosted by Harvard Business Review.