We can't fault our wise men and women for not being able to predict the COVID-19 black swan, (although I heard that it was predicted sort-of in a horror novel sometime in the 90s!) Black swans are not subject to predictions or forecasting.
The word 'unprecedented' comes from the root word precedent, which means, "a case that will serve as an example of a later case." This falls under an unprecedented category of events.
In this new dispensation, some are going to be successful and some will not survive, evidently because adaptation is not an inborn trait. Organizations must willing to bear the burden and opportunity to adapt immediately, consistently, and in painstaking way, strategically.
They consistently believe that they have nothing to lose but more to gain from the evolution.
They see the big picture but very pragmatic and practical in their approach to their work, occupation, business.
They know that change is constant, and that instead of fear and trepidation, they should be quick to improvise and test what works.
They consider the fact that timelines are set artificially, for example: "when vaccine is available", setting their own timelines and strategies ahead of the crowd.
They do not sit tight and wait for dole outs or supports. They support others and do not have the scarcity mentality despite the situation.
Some are very fortunate because they are reaping the benefits of a fearful public through goods, services, and cultural supports they can provide right now. Kudos to them! But for us that are not severely impacted, we can make a huge difference with what we have and can leverage.
One thing I like about this new change is that opportunities are new every morning.
Our actions make those containment possible. Our current actions make those future decisions possible.
My guru at home gave a new term for reconstruction.
"Wreck it and build it again."
The vast majority of the work that we do can be reconstructed, remodelled, rebuild.
While the tearing process can be painful and exceedingly laborious, it could also be a source of relief (cathartic to some) and release from the burden of perfectionism.
Our most prized goods, services, products, programs are held up high and with finality, judged as best. Where in fact, in other spaces, they wreck their best products so see if it can withstand several iterations for different purposes.
There is nothing wrong with valuing great assets, but if it becomes the 'sacred cow' that nobody wanted to touch for fear of reprisal, retribution, or negative impact, then there is the problem. Either it is perception issue or an accountability one.
The joy of rebuilding is 100x better than the stagnant trophy gathering dust in the library.
"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's the courage that counts" -Churchill said that.
A few weeks now with the lockdown and social distancing, your organization should be gearing up to 'when this is over' scenario.
The Canadian government has expressed that these measures wont be lifted until a vaccine is available for treatments.
It could take a few more weeks, which to me is a good precautionary step and a good way also to express that it would soon be over than later.
Now is the time to look at your mitigation measures and adapt to the recovery and stabilization phase once measures are lifted. Businesses can start operating again, events/conferences can be held, travel bans are lifted, and slowly things will get back to the new normal.
When this thing is over, here are some of the questions you may think about:
1) In these few weeks, what did you find about your organization in terms of coping up, being resilient, and taking leadership? What surprised you the most?
2) What opportunities are you maximizing and sustaining in the new order to become a better organization?
3) What practices, systems, and mentalities need to be discarded in order to give way to the new configuration?
4) What capacities are needed/strengthened to continue your market edge and leadership?
It is reported that there are million job losses in Canada for the past few weeks due to the economic shutdown. There will be more catastrophic impacts to be documented in the next few months down the road. This is not the time to have a 'wait and see' attitude.
You need to 'build back better' by starting now and assuming a clear and well-defined strategic position towards recovery.
A few years ago, I have written about the concept of blue ocean.
To fortify this idea, I have encountered recently that it is wise to move upstream when there are bigger sea creatures and not get clipped by a speeding boat and hit by ski boards when you are closer to shore. The former gives you the wide room to maneuver and avoid the predators while the latter constricts your basic movements.
Organizations concoct arbitrary rules, policies, and standards without due consideration to the actual costs and value that these inputs could do to obstruct relations with their customers, suppliers, and partners.
More rules created becomes barriers for taxpayers, businesses, and stakeholders to access services, programs and opportunities for partnerships.
Designed to safeguard an objective process, smaller organizations become their own enemies when they make these arbitrary rules to their detriment. There is a word for that 'bureaucracy.'
Bureaucratic organizations tend to treat themselves as insulated from growth and results orientation, with the pr0pensity to perpetuate themselves regardless of their impacts and relevance to society.
From non-profits, associations, community clubs, government organizations, and other types of community initiatives, and social enterprises, the first question to ask: how can we get rid of the problem so that we can get out of the way?
As professionals and workers in the marketplace, we put our best selves forward many times until we hit a breakthrough and get better at our craft. We continue to pound the pavement, get through the adversities, and refuse to be intimidated by we call the 'baptism of fire.' As the saying goes, if you are not failing, you are not trying enough.
Well said. But your next best hit is something that is totally unknown to you. Artists, professionals, experts would say time and time again, that they don't know why did their career moved to the direction unbeknownst to them. It as if, the fate, the universe, or the invisible Hand had guided the opening of certain doors and the closing of some.
We can always improvise but there is no way to predict the outcomes of certain projects, initiatives, plans, and situations. We can be persistent which is a good substitute for talent and innate abilities. To do that, would mean to be able to prepare in high season and in low, monotonous cycles where no one seems to care. It is that instance, that we gear up for the inevitable, the crashing of walls of resistance, the slow-motion towards the fulfillment of goals, and the gratitude when success is imminent.
My high school journalism teacher said, "the higher the objective, the sweeter the triumph." The more difficult the task, the sweeter the reward. He prodded us to meet the challenges of difficult writing assignments and roles, beating the deadline, working on our drafts, preparing to write professionally and with passion, and being able to face corrections for our good. I still remember that teacher. He was a turbo-charged nudge, always ready to look at our first initial drafts (which were always not good!) without condescension. Our first school publication bearing our names in the editorial box was the first for me, the real meaning of 'credit.' You give credit where credit is due.
You must assume that success is not final and that failure is never fatal. You have to be skeptical about overnight, landslide victories and be equally level-headed when things don't go right for you.
Frustrated, defeated, and feeling that there are no options left but to quit?
This post is not about that, but when does quitting becomes an opportunity to get on track or refine one's vision of life, work, career, or business.
Quitting or the process of quitting opens up the possibility to give chance to reinvention and self-affirmation;
Quitting or the process of quitting clarifies your own contributions, the strength that you brought to the table and the qualities and assets that you can take wherever you go;
Quitting will identify who the real friends are and who aren't: they will provide the insights of your contribution without you asking them for it;
Quitting releases the drive to make the most of what you had and gathers the strength to move on with things that you want to continue building and enhancing;
Quitting earlier than later means that you are taking control and that frees you up to do the things that you love and want to do;
Quitting can be a dramatic exit which you can leverage in an organization where the stakes are high and you can make a big difference out of leaving;
Quitting does not mean that you will not try again in the future. It is not definitive as long as your reasons are clear and that you don't burn the bridges to future interactions.
Before you quit, ask yourself, how can my quitting helped me become a better person, professional, and entrepreneur?
Quitting isn't always a bad move! It can be the most liberating to do when you know how to bring the best out of a seemingly bad situation.