When lock-downs are lifted and the U.S. government re-opens the economy, what does the Other Side look like?
It’s impossible to predict how the other side will look with precision, given the uncertainties and unknowns, but there’s a high probability that life will be very different from the normal that we knew. Throw out the old rule book and unlearn all that we know.
By rethink everything, I mean EVERYTHING. How we live, how we interact with others, how we work and how we run our businesses. There will be mass behavioral changes and many of them will be permanent. Some changes will be by choice while others will be imposed upon us as new social norms and regulatory rules are established to ensure public safety and confidence.
Amidst all the uncertainty about the future here are a few high probability outcomes:
• A deep and long recession resulting in mass unemployment and business failures
• Social distancing is here to stay
• Increased adoption of working from home
• Many businesses will be permanently shuttered and not return
• Creation of new businesses and jobs
• The inequality gap will widen
• There will be extended hardship for many
• Re-opening of the economy will be a slow process
How do we prepare ourselves for the upcoming upheaval?
Mind the mindset – keep an open mind. Open to the new reality, open to new ideas and open to a new modus operandi. The rules of the game have changed, and we must adapt. Change is hard but change we must if we’re going to overcome the challenges, and seize new opportunities, on the Other Side. What worked in the past may not be relevant in the future.
The only certainty on the Other Side is change. Yes, there will be drastic change. Some changes will be voluntary, and others imposed upon us both in our personal and occupational lives.
For individuals and their families, the priority is to ensure health and safety. Next is to take stock of one’s finances – do we have regular income coming in? If not, then apply for government financial aid under one of the programs of the CARES Act. Take other measures such as cutting back on discretionary expenses and exploring other avenues for generating income.
Do some introspection and ask, “What elements or behaviors of my life to I want to retain, change or eliminate going forward?” Let the answers guide you.
Each business, large or small, has been impacted.
The first thing each business needs to do is to examine their business model and determine if it’s still relevant in the anticipated environment of the Other Side.
A restaurant owner will need to figure how to remain profitable by 1) reducing the number of seats to create social distancing space (thereby reducing covers and revenues), and 2) create a safe environment (at added expense of new health protocols) to attract clientele.
Airlines, theaters, sporting stadiums, gyms and concert halls would have to go through a similar exercise.
Similarly, each enterprise, large or small has to ensure that they have a business model that works on the Other Side. For some it may just require a few tweaks, and for others it may be a call to pull down the shutters and search for new opportunities.
It’s human nature to hope, and believe, that after each societal crisis things will return to normal. But some events such as this pandemic cause fundamental changes to occur and these changes – like social distancing, increasing adoption of working from home and creative destruction of businesses – permanently embed themselves and become the new normal.
Let’s recognize this pandemic and its impact for what it is – the single biggest disruptor of our lifetime.
Rethink EVERYTHING as we cross over to the Other Side.
The author, Rajan Chopra, is an Executive Coach and Business Strategy Adviser. He welcomes readers’ comments and inquires. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org