From ‘Now to Next’
Mindsets for Success

It’s impossible to read anything nowadays without reference to the ‘new normal’ or the need for businesses, whether public or private, to learn from the recent COVID-19 crisis and transform the model of service. But for all the cajoling and the armchair punditry, will we really see a genuine revolution in business practice or are we more likely to be reflecting on old habits dying hard?

Although some businesses will have no choice but to change, the vast majority will face some very interesting options and we believe it will be the mindset adopted by a business’s leaders that will dictate how successful it is.

We have been studying early moves to restart or reset business activity as lockdown begins to ease, and the public and private sectors move away from crisis mode.

In summary we have identified three archetypal mindsets:

  1. The short term, viability focused mindset – ‘lets just see if we can get through this and try to recover business once it’s over’
  2. The medium term, opportunistic mindset – ‘there is an opportunity here; we might be able to change things and grow our current business once it’s over’
  3. The longer term, agility is key mindset – ‘we will never be caught out again once it’s over’

Of course, it’s entirely possible to adopt a strategy that embraces all three of these mindsets but in practice they represent a fundamentally different viewpoint….and are likely to bring with them different outcomes and, arguably, varying degrees of success.

In the viability mindset, the resilience is admirable but the assumption that consumers or service users will behave in the same way as they did before is questionable. Equally, the business will be likely to suffer from debt and lost revenues, which may create fragility for some time, thereby impacting on any scope for new investment. In our experience, few businesses are explicitly adopting this mindset but many have it when you scratch the surface, and these may be least likely to succeed in years ahead.

In the opportunistic mindset, there is more to be optimistic about. At the very least, there is recognition that the world has changed and this has the potential to allow existing products and services to be delivered in different and better ways. This might create greater productivity and efficiency which can help the business make up for lost revenues and begin to plan the next iteration of product options. If businesses genuinely adopt this mindset, we believe they are more likely to succeed in the future.

In the agility mindset, there is a powerful realisation that a static range of services delivered through a single approach might have been profitable in the past but can also make the business vulnerable if we experience another catastrophic event in the future. Therefore, the need to develop the agility to flex products and imagine new and varied ways of working, whilst building capability to change the delivery mode rapidly, as required, becomes the strategic ambition. It is these businesses that we believe are most likely to succeed.

But what does being agile mean in practice …?

Where we see success, agility is helping businesses focus – potentially simultaneously – on four key areas…with a need to find the sweet spot between them, whatever sector they operate in.

These four areas are:

  • health and care (including, in the short term, communicable disease management)
  • public health and protection
  • sustainability and energy use
  • staff mental and physical wellbeing (including the ability to recruit, retain, deploy and reward)


At Project Rome, we understand these areas due to our team’s high levels of leadership experience and expertise in these fields. This means we can work with companies to identify their underlying mindset and to develop the opportunism and agility most likely to help them to reset after lockdown and achieve the success to which they aspire.

We stand ready to help you… contact us Hello@projectrome.co.uk

What our clients say

Project Rome worked with us to develop a purpose-driven strategy for Yorkshire Building Society, aligning our commercial ambitions with our societal and environmental responsibilities. The team were an absolute pleasure to work with, and their knowledge and experience were invaluable. We couldn’t have delivered the work without them.

Tanya Jackson, former Head of Corporate Affairs, Yorkshire Building Society

Project Rome has helped shape, challenge and then support the further development of original thinking, critical to the successful transformation of our sustainable business and asset strategy. They are also hugely well connected regionally and nationally. Their work has led to enhanced customer value and environmental performance for Yorkshire Water – an important outcome at a pivotal time.

Jon Brigg, Manager of Innovation, Yorkshire Water

The team at Project Rome are great to work with; consistently delivering results and adding valuable contributions but also easy and enjoyable to collaborate with. They are impressive in their ability to build rapport with different audiences and quickly apply a strategic mindset and technical expertise to bring structure, clarity and direction.

Gordon Rogers, Head of Sustainability, Yorkshire Water

It has been my pleasure to work with Project Rome over a number of years.  Simon has always brought clear strategic thinking and analysis at corporate level and worked with me as a member of the executive team in WYG plc over an extended period as we grew the business.  I have greatly appreciated his wisdom and help in setting direction for growth and implementing strategy.

Douglas McCormick, Executive Chairman, Gleeds UK and former CEO of WYG

I would sum up Project Rome in three words: diligence, expertise and accuracy. But what’s more, they are a true pleasure to work with. If we have a complex project, Project Rome is our first port of call.

Jeremy Biggs, CEO, NCL Technology Ventures Ltd

Project Rome worked on a one-to-one basis to quickly build relationships and gain the trust of key stakeholders, from clinicians and support teams to Executive Directors. The result was a significant leap forward in our ability to effectively collaborate at all levels. They were also an absolute delight to work with, bringing humour and a sense of fun to the team. We loved every minute of working with them!

Rebecca Malin, former Programme Director, Acute Provider Collaboration, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Project Rome team has an open, approachable style that worked well with our entire team, from Executive Directors to junior admin colleagues. They were politically and culturally sensitive to the need of the population and the multiple stakeholders, and creative and thoughtful about ways to get the optimum outcome from their work.

Stacey Hunter, Executive Director Acute Provider Collaboration Airedale FT and Bradford FT NHS Trusts, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber

Project Rome provide FirstGroup with excellent regional intelligence and wise political counsel. They help us engage with our key stakeholders in a meaningful and focussed way.

Mike Katz, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, FirstGroup plc

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