COVID-19: The Dark Cloud And It's Silver Lining
This storm will eventually pass but the choices we make now will determine our future.
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In such a short time, COVID-19 has closed borders, sent financial shockwaves across the world and created a state of existential angst amongst us. As for businesses, it’s a time of immense uncertainty. Of all the risks that we had accounted for – through structural discussions and even casual assumptions – this one could hardly be visualized. If there ever was a Plan B in place, this is the time to activate it.
While we still don’t know the exact shape of this beast, nor how it will transform the economy and society, we know one thing for sure. The three-word policy – Work from Home – that a lot of businesses have been shying away from, is the saviour of this hour. If there’s one definite solution to the COVID19 crisis, then this is the one.
Usually, we witness how technology isolates us. Come COVID19, we are unleashing its power to bring us closer. Personally speaking, the crisis has given me the pause required to connect better with my people. I find myself spending more time going deeper into matters; both personal and professional. I’m able to find novel ways to assess potential in people and situations.
More often than not, I’m urging my teams to chase goals against a deadline. That has changed. Now, I’m getting all cross-functional teams over video calls to thrash things out to their last detail. Whether it’s a product launch, production planning, marketing and communication strategy, or even succession planning, we’re perforce spending more time on planning than we previously did. This period is allowing us to bring cold freezer tasks into the open with my entire team closely examining the ‘why’ of every undertaking. And guess what, that’s the silver lining! We’re sharpening the proverbial axe before we strike with implementation. One week into this lockdown and I am more convinced about plans we’ll roll out in near future.
That said, the cloud of uncertainty is looming large on all of us. Supply chains are disrupted and economic growth and demand is bound to slow down. The economies of scale that result from continuous production are challenged. Trade is nearly stalled. The emotional effort to cope with this global pandemic, and its widespread coverage is taking its own toll. During such pressing times, for most employees around the world, work will tend to become a refuge. Most of my people are used to the corporate chase, and thus working from home is now giving them a reason to stay active and divert their mind from the looming catastrophe. In our organization, we have launched several learning and upskilling modules for our people to harness their positive and creative energy. We’re urging senior management to focus on the well-being of their teams. After all, what we think about and thank for is what is brought about.
More than ever now is the time to re-align our business perspective towards sustainability. I’m dedicating a taskforce to evaluate two important criteria for the overall business at this juncture. One, to assess the damages and losses being incurred at this stage. The other, to come up with sustainable solutions to mitigate these losses, to spring back to normalcy at the earliest possible time, and to tweak risk strategies in light of the global pandemic.
This storm will eventually pass but the choices we make now will determine our future. A new world order for business will be formulated upon which we will build our new empires, and until then, we must hope for all the goodness in the world to be restored.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.