We have never had a blueprint for a global pandemic like this one, and we still don’t have one. That said, there are some things we can do and some strategies that can help us more safely navigate the troubled waters that doubtless lie ahead. How should managers act and what can companies do to develop a 360-degree approach to crisis management – with a view to future crises, too? Answers to these questions are proposed by Georgiy Michailov and H. Joachim Grabow in the current edition of the German-language Harvard Business manager. Entitled “How to stay alive”, their article contains solid guidelines on building resilience in order to weather the crisis. It illustrates what effective management should look like in a time of crisis.

The article assesses the current situation and looks ahead to possible future developments. But it also:

  • Outlines a best-practice approach, highlighting areas where action is needed and offering concrete recommendations
  • Provides examples of lessons learned by SMEs
  • Presents a catalogue of questions about how to adapt business models
  • Describes a resilience test that can be applied “as is”

The sum total of these questions, guidelines and lessons learned shows what efficient turnaround management looks like in practice. Beyond that, it also provides helpful support and orientation to those players that only now are finding themselves in choppy waters. If you have any questions or suggestions, we would be very happy to hear from you. Feel free to contact us at any time!

We have walked no fewer than 33 high-end midcaps through the current crisis, drawing on many years’ experience of transformation and turnaround management to do so. And we have now condensed this experience into a set of guidelines to help managers find their way safely through the pandemic crisis and whatever the future may hold. The guidelines lay a firm foundation for 360-degree crisis and turnaround concepts and spell out the individual steps that management must take.

We trust that you will glean valuable stimulus and ideas from this article for use in your company.

> 16 key questions to think about

Stakeholder management – A critical success factor

Proactive communication with stakeholders – especially your own staff and your financial backers – is the lifeblood of good crisis management. You build trust when you stay honest and transparent: No pipe dreams. No empty promises you will never be able to keep. And without trust, you will never be able to steer your company and your people safely through the crisis.

What experts say about the article

>> COVID-19 has confronted most of our companies with unprecedented challenges. With compelling logic, Michailov and Grabow show management how to navigate through the dense fog of uncertainty and how companies can stay alive even under the most extreme adverse circumstances.<<

Professor Rudolf Wimmer, November 2020

>> In my capacity as founder and Managing Director of MChef (a Miele Group company), I have been asked one question again and again in the course of the pandemic: “How do I stay alive?” This article provides valuable answers, but also asks the right questions: the uncomfortable ones. More than that, it describes an easy-to-use set of tools that should be compulsory for every management team above and beyond the present pandemic. Companies that fail to take these principles to heart will be left behind mercilessly in crises such as the one we are experiencing now.<<

Martin Eilerts, Managing Partner, MChef, November 2020

How COVID-19 will affect revenue in 2020 compared to 2019

  • -9%
  • -60%
  • -16%
    plant engineering
  • -18%
  • -24%
    Consumer goods
(Basis: 33 Companies)

Who to contact on crisis management:

Georgiy Michailov
Managing Partner
Dipl.-Volkswirt, B.M. (TSUoE)
Email to Georgiy Michailov
T +49 (0)221 91 27 30 - 15


Dr. Hans-Joachim Grabow
Senior Advisor
Dipl.-Kaufmann, MSc, EMCCC (Insead)
Email to Dr. Hans-Joachim Grabow
T +49 (0)221 91 27 30 - 70