COVID-19 has challenged every business to demonstrate character and depth; revenue stream are choked, the future is uncertain and employees are deeply concerned about their health and safety. Leaders have to show the courage and conviction in building a vision for their company and communicating the same with all their stakeholders. Unless the employees see something for them in the vision, it sounds hollow and fails to inspire people.
Who is not concerned about one’s prospects? The pandemic has taught us not to take anything for granted. All of us have learnt why we should be staying agile and willing to adapt as situations emerge. The leaders must consider this as a part of their vision and communication strategy. Their vision has to lead their employees to believe a certain image of the future and show them a path to walk upon and follow.
Imagining the future
The situation in the current times have remained fluid and one doesn’t know how the future is going to unfold. We cannot afford to remain in a state of inaction as the situations around us evolve. We have to combine our thoughts and imagination with the views of experts to gauge the shape of the future. One’s imagination might not come true in its entirety, but one must put one’s creative powers to work. One needs to think about the future of the industry sector one is working in and the skillsets that will be valuable then.
We know, technology is playing an important role in every sector of the industry; and certain sectors have better prospects than the others. Efficiency and expertise are being increasingly valued. Irrespective of one’s functional expertise, it is important to acquire skills that will be relevant for the future.
Acquire those skills
One needs to revalidate the assumptions and perspectives held for long. Times are changing and we have to adapt. For example, one didn’t think if the Professors including those in the Ivy League institutes would change their methods of teaching from classrooms to online. Hence, people in the education sector have to be thinking about what new skills are required to excel in education. There are many functions in the sector right from teaching and research to recruitment of students, library, clubs, student unions, admissions, housing, healthcare, catering, public relations, grants and many more aspects of an educational venture. In each of these areas, we have to notice the shifts taking place and prepare ourselves for these changes.
The lockdown thrust upon us can be depressing and stressful; at the same time, it offers an opportunity to take a pause, reflect and think what skills could be required for the future. One could be in sales, operations, human resources, information technology, finance, legal, supply chain or production, quality or design, changes are happening all the time. However, this pandemic has challenged many of our beliefs. So, in the days ahead, we will see many new technologies to carry out usual tasks better, new ways of delivering results and sometimes new thinking altogether. We need to learn and adapt quickly!
Connecting the dots
Nations such as the US, UK, France and Italy having spent an enormous amount of money on their military capabilities to keep their citizens safe. However, they have struggled to protect their citizens from another mortal enemy in the form of coronavirus. So, here is a new paradigm of power.
Human lives and moral values such as empathy and concern for our environment are the centre-stage topics in the speeches of the political leaders of our times. As a fallout of this pandemic, countries will rethink about their approaches towards social welfare, external affairs, trade relations, education, healthcare and financial systems.
Business leaders and individuals must watch out for these changes which will happen soon enough for new opportunities to emerge and thus, new skillsets and thinking. More than the knowledge of the subject matter, we have to develop new approaches to solving problems, getting things done, collaborating with others and carrying out responsibility towards society.
Adaptability and agility are the mantras for staying relevant in the current times.