Over the past two months, the world of business has been experiencing a disastrous lockdown that is far from over.
Many business experts are providing the world with insights into the way the planet should now be taken care of, some of them are blaming themselves for not having taken seriously some previous alerts, while others are ramping up with advice, new commitments, and exemplary attitudes towards employees and customers. Almost all industries are walking in the realm of the unknown. Planes and boats are grounded, traffic on the roads has never been so low, biotech and pharmaceutical companies are working hard to find a treatment and/or a vaccine against the virus and we are all worshipping our doctors, nurses and all the people who, near or far, have been taking care of our lives.
Fear is a widespread virus right now and the corollary that comes with it is a multitude of interpretations regarding the causes of the virus, who is to blame, and what we should do or not do from now on.
This is what happens when we don’t know what we don’t know. Let’s be honest: Who knows exactly where the virus came from, where it is going to take us, and by when? There are no clear answers so far and at the same time, so many opinions that you end up having to choose between getting dizzy, getting goosebumps, or becoming schizophrenic. One thing we can observe of doctors, nurses, and all the people who have been dealing with the pandemic is they have been pushing their limits way beyond what they could have imagined two months ago. They are achieving unprecedented results that no one could have imagined in these circumstances.
Front line workers were unable to take the time to reflect on the situation and create the best possible solution since they were forced to adapt to a quickly evolving situation; yet, they invented new ways of operating, new ways of supporting each other, and new ways of being self-reliable when governments or institutions did not meet their critical needs. They pushed walls, opened new beds, created new rooms, new outdoor structures to welcome sick people, enrolled other institutions in the whole process, and garnered support from all over the country.
What made this possible?
There is a difference between operating from a context of crisis that shapes your actions and therefore your results in a way that you just act, act, act and achieve just a bit more of what you were used to achieving and, on the other hand, operating from a context that meets and responds to your critical needs and challenges while opening up new possibilities.
The front line responders invented new possibilities out of their commitments they have made and the reason why they do the job they do. They are out here to cause something unprecedented.
Business leaders can take on the same approach. What if leaders and their teams started thinking from the purpose of their companies, their commitments in service of their company’s existence, and what they are out here to cause at the end of the pandemic? For example, in the maintenance, repairs, and operations (MRO) business, airlines have been asking for payment delays; at the same time, MROs have already started rethinking how to serve their clients better, but differently. Some are going to geographically reorganize their different sites so that certain services may be more available when they are most needed while transforming some other sites into storage ones; others will now be dedicated to planes’ transformation (from passenger carriers into freight carriers). They have started thinking newly to serve differently.
No matter how bad the circumstances are, your future will in most cases depend on what you are standing for and what you are out here to cause. Therefore, it is imperative to operate from a context of possibilities in order to create a bold future that is ready and able to adapt to the changes and disruptions that you have been encountering.