Harnessing opportunities in a post-COVID19 world

Identifying opportunities in a post-COVID19 world
Post-COVID19 opportunities. Image Source: Google Images

“The future is already here- it’s just not very evenly distributed.” William Gibson

We are in the middle of a global pandemic at the moment, probably the biggest crisis of our time in terms of both magnitude and impact. The entire global village is under lockdown, and we have been forced to adjust our lifestyle through less social contact, enhanced personal hygiene and working remotely. Governments and public health regulators have issued a raft of emergency measures in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID19. Some of these measures will most likely become new norms that will continue to be applicable even in the post-COVID19 world.

On the business front, developments such as travel restrictions, staff lay-offs, plummeting financial markets, supply shortages and limitations on “non-essential” services are not only impacting businesses and economies, but are also redefining key aspects such as consumer preferences, payment systems, delivery and distribution channels, the future of work/work of the future, research and development, among other core business processes.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that globally, the coronavirus shock will be more severe than the 2007-08 global financial crisis. However, one of the most fundamental lessons from human history is the capability of humans and economies to galvanize resilience and adapt to new circumstances and trends. Crisis management has a tendency to ignite more innovation, planning and investment to support social and economic recovery.

All these adjustments create new opportunities through offering room to new ideas, new technologies, new problem solvers, fresh leadership, and deeper perspective on issues such as sustainability, contingency plans, public infrastructure, healthcare systems, social norms, resource allocation, globalization, gender equity, economic policies, et cetera.

In spite of its massive negative effects, COVID19 is a change catalyst due to its unprecedented characteristics that are challenging and recalibrating core human fields such as management, medicine and healthcare, business, politics and public policy, law and regulation, education, religion, among others.

This reconfiguration in turn has ripple effects that create mindset and attitudinal change in behavioural dynamics of entrepreneurs, consumers, policy makers, employees, and societies at large. As the situation evolves, we also need to evolve alongside and come to terms with the new risks and opportunities arising from the pandemic. Here are some suggestions that can enable and catalyse the change process;

who do i want to be during COVID-19
Who do you want to be during COVID-19?
  • Attitudinal shift from a “fixed mindset” to a “growth mindset”. People with a fixed mindset believe that abilities, talents and intelligence are all features we are born with and are innate/static. They fear personal development because they are afraid of failure, which they perceive as disaster and not an opportunity to learn and improve. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe and understand that their talents, abilities and intelligence are improved through continuous learning, practice and development. Harnessing opportunities in a post-COVID19 will require discarding of self-limiting beliefs, attitudes and excuses that hinder personal and societal progress.
  • Build resilience and a deeper sense of purpose. Naturally, crisis triggers fear, panic and anxiety. These cloud our sense of vision and big picture perspective to new realities and opportunities around us. However, adaptability requires more grit and resilience. These can be cultivated by focussing on positive lessons, de-platforming from sources that give us anxiety and stress, and re-defining our sense of purpose that is attuned to new demands, new skills, and new opportunities.
  • Create a change-ready culture by progressively tracking key information and data you need for effective decision making. This can be personal or organizational strategy to identify, prepare and respond to new opportunities as they emerge within your profession, sector, business, country, et cetera. This should entail a comprehensive process covering measurable specific outcomes such as planning for change, training, piloting, communication, managing resistance, monitoring and evaluation, and celebrating success. Survival in a post-COVID19 will be for the most adaptable, who are quick, innovative and responsive to the new challenges and opportunities at hand.
  • Lastly, creating future-proof institutions and structures is one of the most effective strategies to anticipate the future and develop processes and systems to minimize the effects of shocks and stresses of future events. Holding brainstorming sessions on key aspects such as market positioning, pricing, customer/client relationship management, and product/service placement is key in building transformational and future-ready entities that are relevant and fit for purpose in the post-COVID19 world.

By and large, the full impact and scale of COVID19 has not yet been ascertained. However, much as we cannot accurately predict the future with mathematical precision, we can take some steps to prepare ourselves and our organizations for opportunities that will arise from a post-COVID19 world.

This week, I will leave you with a book recommendation, “Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty”, by Scott Steinberg. I hope that you will find it insightful as you gather the courage to embrace change.

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Silver Kayondo - Lawyer UgandaAs a dual-trained Ugandan and South African lawyer, my focus is on assisting businesses, innovators and investors in shaping the trajectory of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on the African continent, by deploying the skills, knowledge and experience accrued over time.

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