As of 3 September 2021, COVID-19 has affected more than million people globally, including 218,580,734 deaths, reported to WHO. The virus has also had severe economic implications, leaving organizations facing a unique set of new challenges that can only be summed up in one word: uncertainty. And the only way to navigate these uncertain times is through effective leadership. Good leaders can deliver on their mission in innovative ways while envisioning a new “normal”. This is critical right now, as COVID-19 has magnified not only societal vulnerabilities but vulnerabilities in business, as well.

Navigating the complexities of the unforeseen COVID-19 crisis has left many businesses struggling. Crisis often fuels innovation, however, and most organizations are stepping up with unique contributions and excellent leadership at a time when it is needed most. Leaders at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic – epidemiologists, data and behavioral scientists, academics, engineers, military logisticians and businesses – are collaborating (probably for the first time) to solve seemingly intractable problems.

These leaders are driving innovation with therapeutic, economic, and community-based solutions that are having a significant impact on the global pandemic. From the creation of multi-million global relief funds to shepherding vaccine development and treatments; from payment deferrals for people and businesses facing financial hardships to digital/telehealth solutions such as Beneficial Business Exchange (a self-service virtual community that matches urgent needs with critical resources); from solving supply chain challenges to creating innovative new products; leaders are adapting and making decisions to help their organizations weather the storm and survive the crisis.

For example, with ventilators in short supply (a critical need during the pandemic), Mercedes stepped up by collaborating with the University College London and clinicians at University College London Hospital to develop the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilator. In South Korea, health authorities, vice-Health Minister Kim Gang-lip, businesses and students joined forces at an early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. With their combined technological expertise and creative thinking skills, they produced a drive-through COVID-19 test; a body sterilizer that sprays people as they enter halls; and a health tracker app for overseas visitors. These and other innovative solutions have shown how collaboration between leaders is beneficial.

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven technological innovation. With more people working from home, internet and online services have been stretched to the limit. Behind strong leaders at Apple, Google, Amazon and other leading tech giants, companies have responded to fill needs in this new online framework. Web meetings, online shopping and other technological aspects driven by COVID-19 have forced quick adaptation and innovation to meet consumers’ needs and, in some cases, keep the economy going.

The reality is that leaders who push innovation during this crisis are setting their organizations up for better success once the crisis has passed. In fact, history suggests that companies that invest in innovation through a crisis outperform peers during the recovery. This finding came to light during the SARS outbreak and the 2009 financial crisis, among others. Statistics show that companies that maintained a focus on innovation during the 2009 crisis subsequently outperformed the market average by over 30 percent after the crisis resolved. This demonstrated a far-sighted approach with significant benefits beyond just a company’s survival.

Leaders and CEOs have creatively solved problems and inspired others by taking action and making decisions that might typically take months to emerge from the typical treacle of bureaucracy. However, good innovative leadership will continue to emerge, transform and discover new ways to tackle COVID-19 challenges. Resilient leaders can see a crisis as an opportunity to elevate and define their corporate culture; resilient leaders can find clarity by testing every decision against touchstones. Their companies, and the communities and people they serve, are counting on them.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter now!

Sign up for risk management, compliance, corporate and background investigations, business intelligence and due diligence related news, solutions, events and publications.

About us…

Based in London, CRI® Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® Group also holds BS102000:2013 and BS7858:2019 Certifications is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle.

In 2016, CRI® Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body established for ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management, providing training and certification. ABAC® operates through its global network of certified ethics and compliance professionals, qualified auditors and other certified professionals. As a result, CRI® Group’s global team of certified fraud examiners work as a discreet white-labelled supplier to some of the world’s largest organizations. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.


Zafar I. Anjum is Group Chief Executive Officer of CRI® Group (, a global supplier of investigative, forensic accounting, business due to diligence and employee background screening services for some of the world’s leading business organizations. Headquartered in London (with a significant presence throughout the region) and licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre-DIFC, the Qatar Financial Center – QFC, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market-ADGM, CRI® Group safeguard businesses by establishing the legal compliance, financial viability, and integrity levels of outside partners, suppliers and customers seeking to affiliate with your business. CRI® Group maintains offices in UAE, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, China, the USA, and the United Kingdom.

Contact CRI® Group to learn more about its 3PRM-Certified™ third-party risk management strategy program and discover an effective and proactive approach to mitigating the risks associated with corruption, bribery, financial crimes and other dangerous risks posed by third-party partnerships.


Zafar Anjum, MSc, MS, CFE, CII, MICA, Int. Dip. (Fin. Crime) | CRI® Group Chief Executive Officer

37th Floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AA United Kingdom

t: +44 207 8681415 | m: +44 7588 454959 | e: