Adapting to a Changed World

Organizations that are on a holding pattern until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed are making a big mistake. Even if a cure was discovered today, it would take between six months to a year before it becomes available worldwide.

Unforeseen closures of manufacturers, travel agencies, cinemas, restaurants, retailers and other businesses have taken their toll on our global economy. The sudden loss of jobs has left families facing a bleak future.

The impact of something microscopic is already colossal. We’re still unsure if we have reached rock bottom. According to the World Bank, the global GDP is expected to contract by 5.2%. It’s the deepest recession in decades.

Uncertainty has frozen many in their tracks. If you’re a leader, forget that we will return to “business as usual” someday. We have to act now if we desire not only to survive but also to move forward once the pandemic is over. It’s not too late for decisive action.

Adversity is part of the process

Successful leaders are no strangers to hardships. This pandemic is devastating to many. Now is the time to show our mettle and inspire employees to be mentally and emotionally strong. We should show empathy instead of indifference, as our subordinates will look up to us for guidance and understanding.

Individuals are now facing many kinds of challenges during these difficult times. They can be personal and yet similar to what others are experiencing today. We shouldn’t hesitate to let employees know we “feel their pain.” Remind them that this pandemic is just another “bump in the road.” Like those before, it will not stop us achieve our goals.

Get Employees on Board

Communication is vital during these difficult times. It would be wise to include subordinates in planning our next steps. We also need to explain to them why we need to make sacrifices. It will not make them happy, but they will appreciate our transparency.

Make the Necessary Changes

We feel sadness for those laid-off, temporarily or otherwise. But, hard decisions will have to be made. Many organizations are in a panic mode and try to minimize short-term losses without thoroughly evaluating the future effects of their actions. They may be losing their top performers to their competitors.

Survival shouldn’t be our only goal. As adaptive leaders, we should set our sights on what the post-pandemic world would likely be. But, we should make decisions on the belief that the future will be different but better.

So, instead of layoffs, we could first recommend pay cuts and shortened work hours. To promote physical distancing, we will encourage more people to work from home. This has the added benefit of leasing less office space. We will delay the purchase of equipment only because of telecommuting.

Our options are endless. There is no need to be hasty and short-sighted. We might have to make adjustments, but we should remain focused on what our goals are.

We can make projections on the pandemic’s effect on our bottom line. If we can remain afloat despite adversity, we must steer our organizations towards a changing world. Again, this difficulty will pass as to when we don’t know for sure. When it does, we will be in a better position if we are ready.

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