The Sky Is Falling
Things are not going well. COVID-19 has hit us from all directions at once.
The sad reality is that as things stand, there is still no vaccine, and in countries in which this menace gets out of control, there aren't enough hospital staff or equipment to handle the sick. COVID-19 exposes everything which is broken in our health systems, our supply chains, our mode of operations, our trust in our governments. The list grows on and on, but what of it? What if this list has a thousand items in it - can we learn something from it?
What if we forget about what is broken, and focus on the things that do work. As always, in such situations, we have two broad options: fight or flight. There will be those who run to the bunker and wait for this lousy cloud to pass. But there will also be those who choose to innovate, to identify new opportunities, to define new ways of working. There will be those who want to fight.
Which one are you?
The Glass Is The Wrong Size
You know that old-time joke about the pessimist that says the glass is half empty, and the optimist that says the glass is half full. There is an addition to this joke: The engineer that says the glass was built twice the required size.
Jokes aside, this last option means: Accept reality. It is what it is. Deal with it. It's time to agree that COVID-19 is pushing all of us into a corner. When someone pushes you to the corner, push the corner away... We need to accept that reality is changing, identify what works, and "push the corner" - meaning define new ways of working. COVID-19 is terrible, it’s a tragedy, but it also opens up new business opportunities.
The Good In The Bad
1. Work-Life Balance: What is that thing we are always complaining about? The friction that wears down our employees? One of the main reasons people give up and switch to another job? It's the known challenge of work-life balance. Spend too much time at work, your family and downtime take a hit. Spend too much time with your family - work doesn't get done.
We lose a ton of time travelling to and back from work, flying to clients, and attending useless meetings. But now we are forced to work remotely. We spend more time at home with our families. We need to be more proactive about how we plan our day. From helping our kids with their remote studies as they can not go to school to which conference calls we should attend. COVID-19 is an opportunity to gain control of our work-life balance and define a new way of living.
2. Reducing The Cost Of Doing Business: The reality that we are used to is that doing business means going to an office. Either "my" office to do work, or "your" office to meet. Meeting face to face is the preferred way of doing business. Now, as a result of COVID, we are all forced to consider how we work remotely.
Working remotely is more than just having your team join a video phone conference. It is about sustaining, and even growing your business while working remotely. It is a massive challenge, but, if done right, it will define a new and more cost-effective way of doing business. If we figure out remote working, do we still need all that fancy and expensive office space? Are all of those flights a must? Does everybody need to spend two hours a day travelling to and back to work? Must we get ten people in the same room to make a decision?
We are learning fast that there are different and more cost-effective ways of doing business.
3. Destruction and Reconstruction: COVID-19 is a massive disruption to our lives. Finally-tuned ways of living, working, studying, manufacturing... all are now being destroyed. But with significant disruption comes great opportunities. This is our golden opportunity to reconstruct and redefine how we do business. How we study. How we provide services. Instead of waiting for COVID-19 to go away, realise that we are facing a new reality and that this reality holds within it great business opportunities.
The need to reconstruct how we operate is an opportunity for creating new business value.
4. Take Climate For Example Until very recently, "Climate" was our biggest challenge. Experts taught us that the reason we can't stop the onset of our climate-related problems is that it requires a complete shift in human behaviours. People will have to stop demanding so many products, driving around everywhere, flying to destinations around the world, consuming and disposing of products on a massive scale.
Who would volunteer to give up on all of these benefits? All of a sudden, we are learning that there is an alternative way of living. If we take one thing away from this COVID outbreak, it should, at the least, be the realisation that there are alternative ways to live more responsibly.
5. What About Talent? Companies are now concerned about what to do with their employees. Deciding who goes and who stays is a terrible and challenging decision to make. I am not playing down this difficulty - but as business leaders we need to commit to finding the good and the opportunities in the dire situation we are facing. And the upside is that some great talents that were locked in one organisation will now look for work.
6. Coming Together: any third-grade politician will let you know that the best way to unite, is to find a common enemy. Well, now we have one. If we ever needed to be reminded that we are all created equal, COVID-19 is the reminder.
Having a common enemy is an opportunity for businesses to come together and to collaborate. Consider this as "Co-Opetition," with a greater emphasis on how we work together than compete. Who out there that until yesterday posed a threat, can be converted to an ally and a partner?
Realities can be easy or harsh. The beauty of the human mind is that we can decide what we think of these realities. We can choose to think it's a tragedy or a comedy. We can choose to think the sky is falling down, or that it is an opportunity to redefine how we live, how we conduct our business, how we operate, what products, offerings or services we bring to market. The only way forward is for us to identify those bits and pieces of what "works" and to do more of those.
Extract from Hod Fleishman’s recent contribution to Forbes online.
Media Asset produced by The Social Co.
About FreedomTECH Solutions
FreedomTECH’s key objective is to help organisations achieve better business outcomes by utilising emerging and innovative technology solutions. Our core focus encompasses Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Big Data technologies, coupled with the supply and delivery of IT Infrastructure (Cisco, HPE, DELL, IBM, Veeam, Nutanix, VmWare & Pure Storage) and Data Centre & Cloud services - we assist C-Level executives to explore how best to overcome business challenges through technology.
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With significant disruption comes great opportunities. This is our golden opportunity to innovate, reconstruct and redefine how we do business.