What to know when the only constant in today’s world is change
Monday, March 09, 2020
There’s an old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.
We are certainly in the midst of interesting times right now. On a global perspective, we have the coronavirus pandemic that started in China but has spread around the world. There’s Brexit, which will cause considerable disruption in the European Union. There’s the lengthy presidential election process in the U.S. and ongoing political turmoil in other countries. As a result, we have economic uncertainty and upheaval all around us.
Some days it may seem nearly impossible to run a business when so many things are changing. The problem is if you wait for things to stabilize, you may be waiting a long, long time.
Here are a few things to consider as you navigate the new normal:
We are all interconnected.
Whether we like it or not, we live in a global environment. The coronavirus situation shows us the global ramifications when products or ingredients or even shipping containers aren’t making their way from China to the rest of the world.
We’ve never moved so quickly.
Everything moves at warp speed now — in both the physical and virtual worlds. Illness spread rapidly due to how we move around the globe. Information, and disinformation, spread just as rapidly as well.
There’s no way to go back.
We can bemoan the loss of the “good old days,” but there is no feasible way to put the genie back in the bottle. We continue to develop and adopt new technology, and that won’t change. We’re no more likely to give up our connected way of life than we are to go back to horse and buggies or candlelight.
The one thing we can count on staying the same is change.
We may not know exactly what will change, but in today’s world what we can count on is that something will change. The question is, how nimble and agile can we be to adapt to changing conditions as they occur?
Crisis behavior fills the vacuum.
Thousands of people hoarding paper surgical masks or cases of bottled water doesn’t help anyone. Yet this behavior occurs when there are not clear, understandable guidelines for next steps.
We need to have Plan B. And Plan C.
The responsible action for all businesses is to look at the key variables that could be disrupted and consider what the alternatives are — as early as possible. Many companies are having people work from home to avoid coronavirus. Multinationals are considering how to change their European operations in light of the U.K. exiting the EU. Organizations are developing strategies to react to whatever party wins the White House at the end of this year.
Your suppliers are in the same boat.
They’re not holding up deliveries because they’re incompetent — they’re having the same supply issues you are. So how can you collaborate to lessen the burden for both of you?
Stay calm and carry on.
People take their cue from the actions of others around them. The more we can establish and maintain some sense of normalcy, the easier it is for others to stay calm and act calmly as well. The better the contingency planning, the easier it will be to carry on.
As interesting as things are now, it’s possible they may get even more interesting in the future. This is the world we live in. Get used to it. Because the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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