Do what needs to be done and change
The guru of change management, DR ICHAK ADIZES, shares some thoughts on how to make the most of the current world crisis and prepare for the future – as individuals, families, companies, nationals and humanity as a whole.
Humanity is facing a major challenge with the coronavirus crisis. It is estimated that millions of people might die worldwide. Beyond those who will die, scientists predict there will be many more millions of sick people who will not be productive for some time, until they recuperate.
This prediction is based on the estimate that between 50 to 70% of the population will get sick, out of which 80% will have a mild flu-like sickness, 17% will be very sick and hospitalized but will recover, and only 3% will die. They will be those with compromised health and the old.
One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that 20% of the population of any country going to hospital will lead to the collapse of the health delivery system, and it will be a challenge to bury or cremate 3% of the country’s population.
But that’s not all.
With 80% sick, 17% feeling like they will die any minute, and 3% actually dying, it will cause a major reduction in active customers and, thus, consumption. When people experience fear, they are not inclined to separate themselves from their cash. Furthermore, people sheltering at home to avoid getting sick will lead to a stoppage in factory production and delivery from logistics companies. As revenues shrink, companies are going to fire part of their workforce, and all these changes cumulatively will cause the health crisis to result in an economic crisis, heading to recession and predictably depression. Ah, not necessarily so, some might say. The government and the central bank will pump cash into the market to stimulate the economy, as they have done in the US in trillions of dollars.
This will not work because, no matter how much money is pumped in, only a small portion will be spent on the truly indispensable items like food and medicine. People will put the rest under the mattress, and companies in the bank. Why? Fear of the unknown. More money will not bring about more spending. What drives consumption is not how much money you have but how confident you feel, how safe you feel. But when the coronavirus is defeated, that money will eventually be used to buy and invest. It will be put to use. Just imagine those so far unused trillions of dollars entering the market all of a sudden. Potential outcome: serious inflation; The money is already in the market to be used, while to increase supply will take time. While inflation might rule the nest, the government, by now in serious national deficit for pumping those trillions of dollars into the market, will have to increase taxes.
As the economic crisis worsens, people in the lower strata of society will suffer the most. There will be social unrest, making the health and economic crises become a social crisis too. The ensuing unrest will call for strong government intervention and regulation, that some liberal-oriented people will consider anti-democratic and too authoritarian, bordering on dictatorship. That will make the medical-economic-social crisis into a political one as well. The coronavirus crisis is an earthquake of major magnitude which, inevitably, will have its aftershocks. This might last a few years, so the coronavirus is not the only challenge we have.
I hope and pray I am totally or even partially wrong. I would rather be laughed at for being so pessimistic. But in case I am even partially right, the question that should concern us is: What are we supposed to do in the light of such dire predictions?
In times of crisis, cash is king. Watch your cash. Cut fixed expenses and postpone variable expenses. But be careful not to produce side effects which are worse than the disease you are trying to control. What are they?
The biggest and most important asset a company has is not money. You can borrow. Bring investors. Postpone paying. It is not technology. If you have money you can buy or develop technology. It is not people. You can get new and better people if you are unhappy with the ones you have. It is human energy. Human energy is fixed. There are only 24 hours in a day. Period. The more you waste it, the less you have to use for functional purposes.
Now note that the more integrated a company is, the less energy is lost trying to make things work. In a disintegrated company, energy is lost internally and thus less is available to achieve results in the external environment. The more disintegrated the company is, the less energy it has to compete, to satisfy clients, to adapt to the market, to manage technological, social, legal and other changes that the company does not control and needs to deal with.
Okay, so, we want integration, but how to go about it you might ask?
Observe your culture. Do you have a culture where people trust and respect each other, especially those who lead? Positive constructive culture is the most difficult to develop and the easiest to lose. Thus, while cutting fixed and postponing variable costs, pay attention not to destroy your culture, to cause disrespect and mistrust. Do not fire people. Instead, cut everybody’s salary, and not equally either. From the best paid cut the most, starting with yourself. Postpone paying suppliers, but be sure you are fair – you don’t want to cause their bankruptcy. Do the best you can for yourself, but pay heed to how it impacts others.
With the work burden down, this is your opportunity to fix and improve how your company operates. Now is the time to have meetings, even daily, using apps that enable distant communication. It is analogous to a person who loves playing golf, who dreams of playing on Saturday. Saturday comes and it’s raining cats and dogs. No way to play golf. What should he do? One alternative is to sit and watch TV and feel miserable. The other is to fix the faucet, clean the house, do the administrative work he had no time to do when he was busy chasing work. When the rain stops his house will be in better shape than it was when the rain started.
Do the same with your company. Unite the company to work on the internal organizational environment while the outside is frozen. This is your opportunity to improve. To shine. While your competition is watching TV and feeling miserable, while your competition is suffering from the internal struggles and fighting caused by the pressures of the crisis, unite your company, polish your company to be the best diamond it can be. The diamond is the hardest mineral there is, and the hardest means the most integrated. And guess who will be better equipped to compete in the market place when the crisis is over?
The same applies to personal and family life. You might be in a closed, small compartment, the whole family, or just you and your spouse, or even you and yourself. There are two choices: polish the diamond or disintegrate. The crisis is a test. How strong are you as a person? How strong is the family? The marriage?
As a person how do you polish yourself to be a diamond? Meditate. Meditation unites. Integrates. Your heart is one, only one. Your mind is left, right, front and bottom, and whatever else, and you suffer a lot listening only to your mind, because the mind argues with itself all the time. The heart unites. You are at peace when you listen to your heart, and Heartfulness Meditation does exactly that.
The purpose of meditation is not to avoid panic or to fill the time that the coronavirus has freed by taking you out of work. The free time should be welcomed as a great gift to be a better person. A more together person. A better together family, company and society.
Stop the mad rush for more, more and more of more, as if more is better. Change direction. Change the lifestyle to better is more. Better health, better education, better protection of the environment. Better international cooperation. Better protection of family sanctity. Better dedication to spiritual growth rather than to bank accounts. Better quality of life rather than standard of living; they are not the same.
The purpose of meditation is not to avoid panic or
to fill the time that the coronavirus
has freed by taking you out of work.
The free time should be welcomed
as a great gift to be a better person.
A more together person.
A better together family, company and society.
As a matter of fact, may I suggest that in the last hundred years our standard of living has gone up but our quality of life has gone down. Our ancestors were happier than we are. See for yourself. The more developed the country, the more therapists and life coaches and divorces there are per capita. We are materialistically and technologically way better off, but miserable. Our ancestors were poor but relatively happy. They had time to enjoy life. We struggle with having a balanced life.
This coronavirus crisis is reminding us what life is really all about. Sitting quarantined we have to face ourselves and ask a very valid point: What have we done to our little world we live in? To our environment. To our family. To our country. To our own health. What the hell was the crazy dash to catch the rainbow all about? What kind of a world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren to inherit? Is the answer in finding a way to move to Mars, Mr. Musk? Or rather slow down, change direction and fix the Earth?
We should each review our priorities as a person, as a family, as a company and as a society. Should the real goal of a leader of any country be to be the biggest and strongest, and be the leader of the world, or is it to make that country the best place to live, the healthiest place to live, the most peaceful place to live and raise children? And exactly the same applies to being a CEO or a parent. What is really, really, really important?
Nature is giving us repeated warnings.
And like a good parent,
if we do not listen,
it increases the punishment until
we do hear the message
and do what needs to be done and change.
I pray and hope that the massive crisis we are experiencing will call for a paradigm shift in how we work and manage, how our economic and political systems operate, and how we can be more human, rather than continue to be an organism that is in the process of accumulating planned perishable assets, destroys the physical and social environment it lives in, and, in doing so, brings an irreversible doomsday on humanity.
Coronavirus is not the end. It is the beginning. Like SARS was not the end. Nature is giving us repeated warnings. And like a good parent, if we do not listen, it increases the punishment until we do hear the message and do what needs to be done and change.
Dr Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Article by DR ICHAK ADIZES
May 31, 2020
May 31, 2020
May 31, 2020