Leading the Resilience

In a crisis, business purpose is everything.

The way in which businesses have responded to the coronavirus pandemic tells us much about their priorities and values.

The BCCM researched the experience of leading co-operatives and mutuals to show how they are dealing with the economic and social shock of Covid-19. In depth interviews with co-operative and mutual CEOs were conducted between September and November 2020 by Peter Hunt and Melina Morrison.

This new report describes how the natural resilience of co-operative and mutual businesses has helped them to react positively to this challenge, by keeping true to the purpose of serving their members.

The research found five unique response to the pandemic of Australian co-operatives and mutuals:

  1. Co-operatives and mutuals are instinctively job keepers – they have avoided making job losses and have often gone to extraordinary lengths to retain staff.
  2. Co-operatives and mutuals have bailed-in their resources, using built up reserves on their balance sheets, rather than seeking to be bailed-out from government.
  3. Co-operatives and mutuals have acted swiftly and nimbly pivoting their operations to adapt to social distancing.
  4. Government financial support has been critical for Australian business, but co-ops and mutuals have not relied on subsidies. Within this sector, self-help is the default response to crisis.
  5. Sensitivity to the mental health challenge has been a priority for all of our businesses. Co-operatives and mutuals know that the health of their community = the health of their business.

Peter Hunt - Leading the Resilience