Whether your business is large, small, essential, struggling to ‘stay open’ from home or ’hoping to restart when this is over’, there are some realizations that we think most CEOs and business owners should be making as we struggle with the realities of a global pandemic and shut-down.
This period in history is tragic and destructive, personally and universally, but when historians speak of it someday, it can also prove to be a time of great, positive change. It can be an opportunity to reflect on what we have done wrong, what we have lost… what is truly important and meaningful.
As business leaders, when this is ‘over’ and our businesses get to, what will inevitably be, a new normal, we are going to have to accept some much needed changes. We’re not talking about a list of government-mandated requirements, restrictions and operating procedures, though these will certainly be plenty, and probably in flux for some time to come. This isn’t about ‘how will I meet these OSHA mandates’ or ‘how can I make all my cubicles six feet apart.’
We’re talking about philosophical change, systemic change… a new way of thinking about doing business, of all types, in all industries and regions. We’re talking about making our business people focused, no matter our product, service or business model. Our philosophy can no longer be “it’s just business”, not that it ever should have been.
People will be putting so much more on the line to walk through our doors and be our employees, our customers and our clients now. We must figure out how to build and keep their faith and trust; that their health and safety… their very lives are more important than a bottom line.
Our changes will need to be self-proscribed, business culture changes, from the CEO down. These changes will include learning new ways to interact with each other while understanding we will all have a new set of needs, both personal and professional. We must learn to accept, adapt and take action on those needs while still operating a successful business. It may help us to recognize there are no longer their needs but there are now our needs, and see if we can factor this new reality into our business operations. When we are successful, our businesses and our country will be stronger .
If we learn anything from this time, it should be how to reset how we can operate capitalism, profitably, successfully and with a new understanding of how our economy can actually be a function of our humanity.