Is this covid-19 crisis bothering you?

?Things I Wish I Learned Earlier and Differently

Why it is so difficult for the governments to spot new and radical changes quickly, to neglect their blindness to the opportunities have been raised by this crisis and develop their citizens potential?

Why are organizations capable of messing opportunities up so profoundly in such a record time?

Are we so naive to argue and believe that there are national solutions to a global crisis of such a size?

How it is possible that corporations -even when they understand the fundamental challenges coming at them and the directions they need to take- are often incapable of moving and seem to be too paralyzed to move fast enough to respond to new business models are triumphing quietly around them?

Why, instead, we do not apply and accelerate the ‘day after tomorrow’ thinking?

CRISIS

Watching the evolution of the pandemic which has plunged the world into this recession is a lot to learn and, unconsciously, a fear of failure and uncertainty institutionalize while challenges continued to pile up. Despite this, on the surface at least, our response system looks remarkably normal versus the lack of plans by governments to deal with such a threat- especially given the scale of the disruption we’ve just experienced which it was supposed to be the subject of contingency protocols for states; there have been more failures successes. Likewise, we have learned that, as in every crisis, there is now a refusal by portions of the population to admit the seriousness of the situation and to act with collegiality and responsibility how to overcome fake news, rumors, conspiracies and biased mind-set coming from continues political games which distract us from the immediate and coherent response to the risk.

Coronavirus is a global crisis, not a crisis of globalisation — Financial Times — copyright Ingram Pinn

Likewise, putting people to choose between privacy, ‘rights’ and health is, in fact, the very root of the problem. We can, must and should enjoy both privacy and health. But to achieve this level of compliance you need TRUST (in science, in authorities and in the media) as the long-term prospects for families dependent on incomes that come when market grapples with confidence without Mad Max scenarios and erratic behaviors. Over the past years irresponsible politicians have deliberately undermine trust in science, in public authorities and in the media and now these same irresponsible politicians be tempted to take the high road to authoritarianism, arguing that we just cannot trust the public to do the right thing. But they should know that a self-motivated and well-informed population is far more powerful and effective than a controlled, ignorant population.

As each country moves along the COVID-19 curve, we can see a glimmer of increasing optimism levels but, that said, the next period is going to be extremely difficult. We’ve been set back about 25 years in about 25 weeks as they say! In countries, skyrocketing unemployment is driving up insecurity to catastrophic levels while major parts of the world will tip towards a COVID-induced famine of “biblical proportions. Set against the apocalyptic nightmare scenario, however, COVID-19 has the potential to usher in a renaissance that will drive economic recovery, make us healthier and heal our planet. Changes were already beginning. COVID-19 speeds up these trends so now; we should ask ourselves not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes. Above all we have to confront the current reality with candor.

REACTION

Therefore, the crisis, in another view, is the closest ally of the capable and daring and if you have insight, flexibility, and willingness to take risks, then de facto opportunities will emerge. Likewise, crisis has overturned stereotypes by pre-ordering distance work, the use of automation and technology etc. For example the pandemic not only highlighted the remote-working model, but made it a catalyst for us to move to it at a rapid pace, which would not have happened so immediately if there were no emergency conditions. Working from home didn’t seem like too much of a challenge and the model will remain, of course, when the pandemic wave is completed, because it contains positive elements. It reduces the operating costs of companies, can help reduce unemployment, annihilates several employee costs etc. As an example according estimates from Korn Ferry®, the number of Americans working from home ballooned to more 80 million (it was 3.7 million in 2017) when states first ordered people to stay home. While that number has declined since the lockdowns were reduced and some firms began bringing workers back to the office, everyone expects millions to continue working remotely even after the pandemic ends.

distance work ethics- copyright : Capital

Yes, this has many positive elements, but it is not a panacea. It must work in the right balance with physical presence and interaction in workplaces which are values will still prevail after all. Still, while technological possibilities ultimately proved redeeming in not losing touch, the silence, the absence of many sounds and activity in noisy cities is something incredible and unprecedented.

But as we contemplate this future, tough questions need to be asked. I believe that the next period will be a constant struggle that requires emotional intelligence, reordering the global model of the care economy. Values such creativity, agility, decisiveness, and empathetic style will prevail through closer collaboration, social empathy and solidarity. In the United States, for example, FMI (food-industry association) and Eightfold AI have collaborated to create an online marketplace, (Talent Exchange), that matches workers who have been recently laid off with critical open jobs, based on their individual skill profiles.

The journey will be long, how long is impossible to fathom. However, on this journey we must balance survival and sustainable development, so it takes endurance, patience, perseverance and courage.

All sectors are in the midst of an unprecedented transformation and, especially, many low and middle-income segments must «violently- innovate» to meet the challenges they face. The coronavirus, in addition to the destruction and chaos it has caused, has also accelerated the need for change which the type and size of these cannot be clearly captured. The only sure thing is that they will be changes of large scale and influence.

What is needed now is creativity, innovation and collaboration with unlikely manners.

India, for example, which had already invested in a world-class digital payment system, was able to transfer almost immediately cash to 200 million women once the crisis hit. This not only reduced COVID-19’s impact on hunger and poverty but also advanced India’s long term-goal of empowering women by including them in the economy. Another example: The eight members of the West African Economic & Monetary Union, allowed people to open accounts by text message or telephone and follow up later to verify their identity in person. More than 8 million West Africans signed up for accounts while their countries were in lockdown.

Mike Tyson in action

The crisis has undoubtedly created unprecedented fear, uncertainty and fatigue so we need the right leaders to navigate our organizations, societies and countries back to recovery and beyond. The boxer, Mike Tyson, had a point when he said “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Therefore, a new profile of leaders (in politics and business) beyond strategic targeting and day-to-day management will be invited to make a shift and demonstrate a new profile, ethic and culture that is more anthropocentric, aligned behind widely accepted goals and focused on solidarity while forces overhaul of corporate eco-system’s welfare.

LEADERSHIP

Smart, forward thinking leaders will now have to replace power with sensitivity in order to lock in the new ways of working so to accelerate growth in tandem with the flattening of the curve. To be exposed to their people, to understand and bend over their problems, to come forward to the front line. The organization wants its leaders ahead of the crisis more than ever. Self-disruptive leaders, learning to be agile, self-aware with emotional and social intelligent. Leaders who are purpose-driven, assured but humble. Leaders with attitudes enabling them to keep pace with the rapidly transforming environments that threaten slowing-moving peers. Leaders who do not make their teams, and the societies, dependent on them but those who can motivate people behind and around their vision, their ‘great idea’ and then empower others to be well-positioned themselves to achieve. Only by these attitudes will attract, inspire, transform and retain talent because talent will be the at the end the catalyst of the changes, the true differentiator!

The ‘Emperor must wear new clothes’ now, ego and overconfidence must ‘leave the building’ and close connection with the execution of the ground is now essential. The crisis will hopefully act as a platform for leaders to make bolder choices and adopt new alliances to help organizations swiftly capitalize on critical opportunities as they arise. This requires flexibility, co-creation and cooperation, since several of the challenges concern an entire ecosystem. Now uncertainty confronts us with a race against time that certainly does not favour formal approaches that are now based only on analyses, discussions and planning but above all on innovation, experimentation and the transition to the digital age. The arrival of the “work of the future” is on the table.

Honeywell’s former CEO Dave Cote — who successfully led the company during the Great Recession in 2008 and added $60 billion to its stock market value before leaving in 2017 — gave two critical “tips” to CEOs amid the Covid-19 crisis: Keep your employees close because you’ll need them in the recovery phase. Make very few layoffs. Instead, choose to give unpaid leave.” And the second: “Don’t get bonuses in the midst of a crisis’’.

Employees do align and share a common point of reference for their company. Now fortunately they do not forget the basic prerequisites like commitment, sense of ownership, and drive waiting from their companies to show off the values and finally coordinate their practices according to the values they claim to have. In the new normal we must seek for a holistic reassignment, reboot and reconstruction based on our most invaluable asset: human capital! Individuals who are agile, flexible and possess what it’s called growth mind-set.

From a ‘positive point of view’ the absence of the fast pace of everyday life is a great opportunity for introspection. An opportunity to appreciate more of the important things we had, to understand which of what we were seeking is not missing and was therefore insignificant. But also an incentive to think about what we want to change when this is all over. This ‘brake’ may has been refreshing and now we need to think carefully to adopt other than «one-off silver bullet solutions», forerunner changes and fait accompli, if we want to survive in a very complex world and unlock our true potential to drive a lasting impact to our life. The pandemic will make us double our efforts to protect human lives. In other words, the dominant cultural reaction to the coronavirus will not be resignation, as it would in other decades, but it will be a mixture of rage and hope. “The best human minds no longer spend their time trying to give meaning to death, instead they are busy extending life.”. Yuval Noah Harari says.

Yuval Noah Harari quote — 2020

Clearly the force majeure that is COVID-19 has not impacted every industry equally but, for sure, denial is a non-go phase for corporations and rebuilding their customer experience by appealing to changing values will result in a profitable, and perhaps much-needed revival. New ideas, new business models and new technologies threaten to undermine companies’ core business, so, right now; they should start to consider significant changes, innovation and how to put sustainability at the core of their business model. They should also carefully review any structural inefficiencies and vulnerabilities that the current crisis has made visible in their operating model and decide on what can be done to address them. For the companies will not act like this, there is no other choice but to play the waiting game.

I believe that this is precisely the phase of real change which while until recently it was perhaps considered as far-fetched, is now more than necessary. Now is the time to be ‘generated’ and emerged real leaders who will make a true impact. Leaders with innate confidence to do the right things!

New technologies and digitalization by itself is not the disruptor even though, when implemented, will dramatically increase intelligence and completely reshape the economy. Not being customer-centric is the biggest threat to any business. Being a pace-setting and coercive leader is an old fashioned way of thinking which has ‘left the building’ nowadays. Being a ‘command and control’ rather than a ‘listen and sense’ leader who do not believe both in people and their ability to contribute and deal with unexpected results when trust lays on the table, this is the real big threat to any society.

For a long time many societies have cited, allow me to say, leaders’ bullshits!. In a today’s world characterized by rapid changes, yesterday’s leadership paradigms risk and must becoming redundant. Our life and well-being standards and perspectives becoming harmful if we do not grow up to take our own responsibility but follow leaders trapped in yesterday’s mind-set instead of giving the credit to other lifetime ethic models. If we continue to do so, we just struggle to find our place and voice in this new world without having a lot of chances!

So, there is a vital need to stay stable in our ethic objectives and flexible in handling of how we are steadily shifting to capture abundance in our life and in our business.

While some companies may need to enter a long and difficult period of slow rebuilding or even become obsolete, others in the same sectors will abandon the false sense of security of the past, they will challenge the incumbent and will definitely be able to find near-term opportunities, embrace and implement strategic moves, partnerships, innovation, and new ways of working and collaborating to keep the absolute worst from happening. Only such as, they will be able to cushion the economic shock will face.

There’s no way we’re going back or anchoring!

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