BCG Henderson Institute

As the Covid-19 crisis spreads to new epicenters in Europe and the U.S., companies are scrambling to mobilize responses. There are no easy answers, due to the unpredictability of disease dynamics, a lack of relevant prior experience, and the absence of plug-and-play instructions from government or international authorities.

Clearly each local situation is different, but we believe there are opportunities for companies to learn from others in regions that are weeks ahead in responding to the epidemic. China appears to be in the early stages of an economic rebound, according to our analysis of high-frequency data on proxies for the movement of people and goods, production, and confidence. While this recovery could be vulnerable if a new wave of local infections were to emerge, many Chinese companies have already moved beyond crisis response to recovery and post-recovery planning.

Based on our experience supporting Chinese enterprises with their recovery plans, we have extracted 12 early lessons for leaders elsewhere. To be sure, China has its own distinct political and administrative systems, as well as social customs, but many of the lessons here seem broadly applicable.