Apart from the sadness I have expressed in earlier articles, this virus makes me angry. The damage it is wreaking on our world, our countries, our societies, our businesses, and our people is beyond imagination. Even after we emerge, the commercial and cultural echo will be loud and long-lasting.
So, after sadness comes anger.
But it’s not blind rage I feel. There’s no point in me shouting or stamping my feet. I feel that anger is a source of energy—a sense of injustice that spurs us into action and provides the fuel to keep us going. As business leaders, we need to focus our energy on our people, our partners, and our customers.
Radical uncertainty: I could be wrong; I could be right.
The current crisis has created and continues to create many unknowns. We simply do not have enough information to make perfect decisions. However, this does not mean we should not make decisions, only that we must be prepared to be agile and adaptive.
We are dealing with what Mervyn King and John Kay have recently described as “radical uncertainty,” which they explain “we can not only manage but positively enjoy.” Enjoy this? Well, here’s the thing. All those workshops and books and internet memes about “leaders” having visions and solving problems? Well, NOW is when we stand up and lead or sit down and let someone else take over.
The cost is so high; the gain is so low.
It might seem that we are struggling against insurmountable odds. I know many people in businesses who have all but given up. They accepted that their old business model has collapsed fatally.
This might be the case, but our unleashed anger will drive us to find new ways to solve problems, care for our people, meet our customers’ needs, and renew our purpose as we emerge into the post-COVID-19 landscape.
Walk through the valley.
While as good citizens we stay in our homes and social distance, our business selves need to be on the virtual road getting closer than we ever did to our colleagues, partners, customers, products, and services. We need to spend this time experimenting, learning, and preparing for the day this is over. As Andy Temte puts it, we must “run toward the fire.”
May the road rise with you.
The virus will be beaten, and a normal world will return, but…
Will the world be the same? No.
Will you be the same? No.
Will your business be the same? Only if you sit back now and do nothing.
My call to you is this: harness the energy of the anger you feel to shape your business. We may actually come out of this with a greater sense of purpose and connection to our clients and colleagues than we ever had before.
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