COVID-19 is an example of an entirely predictable disaster. Yes, its effects will likely be economically devastating (and in some cases personally devastating for those affected in the individual sense), but nonetheless it is still absolutely predictable. Serious, novel pathogens emerge regularly. In the last 20 years, we’ve seen things like H1N1, H5N1 and SARS all emerge, as well as outbreaks and epidemics of older viruses such as Zika and Ebola. None of this minimises or plays down the effects of the current pandemic (which many experts predict may well be worse than all of the above); but it does illustrate that this should be an occurrence that that precisely no one finds surprising. Not only was it bound to happen sometime, evolution tells us it is certain to happen again, too,
But there is no doubt – predictable or not – that many of us have found ourselves blindsided by just how far-reaching the effects of this pandemic have been. I, myself, have been dealing with my own form of crisis management – I have a team of over 50 people delivering programs in around 4,000 schools a year – including hundreds in the next few months. So you can imagine what operational planning has looked like in my office for the last few days!
Crucially, we cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into thinking purely reactively. We must resist the temptation to be pulled purely into the day-to-day of managing what is right in front of us, and find ways to keep ourselves thinking strategically and learning the lessons we can from this that will help us manage the highly predictable reality of crises, uncertainty and disruption that we will continue to face into the future.
So in this future-focused, provocative and instructive session, we will:
- Look at the curious reality of just how ‘predictable’ most surprises in the marketplace actually are, and look at what the current events should teach us about strategic, scenario and contingency planning
- Unpack the ‘physics’ of disruption; how it moves through markets, and how various sources (technological, demographic, geopolitical, consumer and – yes – even biological!) combine to create an ‘edge’ of disruption in every market
- Examine the four mindsets of the change-ready leader, and how we can arm ourselves with an approach that makes us more resilient to external shock
As background reading, my firm has also just released a primer into COVID-19 response, which is attached for your reading pleasure.