There will be no 'back to normal'
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many business leaders were already using a term borrowed from the military to describe the business environment – VUCA – Volatile Uncertain Complex Ambiguous. The big destabilising force was, and still is, technology.
“In 10 years, 65% of jobs will be jobs that don’t exist today.”
World Economic Forum
Then COVID-19 hit and it's now VUCA2.
Optimism is vital – but it has to be realistic optimism. In the words of James Stockdale, who survived 7 years of living hell as a Vietnamese prisoner of war:
"You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."
And the 'most brutal facts of the current reality' are that the repercussions of the pandemic will be immense, very hard to predict and will continue to be felt for years to come. It is almost certain that many businesses, including lots that were well-run and profitable, will fail. Each failure will cause ripples through the local economy, damaging suppliers and customers … and their suppliers and customers …
And as unemployment increases, consumer spending decreases and the dominoes continue to fall.
In every sector, existing players will cut costs and slash prices in a desperate bid to survive. New players will enter sectors, seeking to make-up the shortfall in revenues in their current markets. And many will bring new technologies and business models that transform how business is done.
Competition will be fierce.
And at some point, we will have to pay the bill for the financial support provided by governments.
It's going to be tough.
But, as always, for those individuals and organizations that are prepared, there is the opportunity to shine in the chaos.
Surviving and Thriving in Chaos
I believe that people are the key.
Over the last 20 years, I've worked (as a trainer and coach) with hundreds of people. And they fall into 2 groups:
- the people who achieved success
- the relatively unsuccessful
The people in group 2 were certainly not failures. But relative to the people in group 1 (and relative to their own potential), they were under-performing (and earning less and feeling less fulfilled by their work).
The difference between the groups was not intelligence or professional expertise. In fact, in many cases, the people in group 2 were 'cleverer' and more skilled.
Nor did the people in Group 1 work harder. Or have more drive.
Over time, I developed a list of the attributes which distinguished the successful from the also-rans. Of course, not every successful person had every attribute but there was certainly a pattern.
These attributes I call 'edge' – because they give your staff the personal edge to outperform individuals with similar roles in other organizations.
And the collective personal edge of your people leads to competitive edge for your organization.
Imagine the difference in performance and results between people who have and don't have these attributes:
- effective habits and efficient processes
- a growth mindset: adaptable and seeking continuous improvement
- excellent communication skills with the ability to influence others
- results-focused and able to manage multiple priorities
- insight into what makes people 'tick' – colleagues, customers, suppliers …
- negotiation skills to ensure that you get the best deals
- understanding and management of internal drivers and unconscious biases
- strong connections – a source of information, opportunities, resources
- a strong personal brand that gives others confidence in their abilities
- resilience in the face of setbacks
- a supportive, emotionally-intelligent, colleague
- realistic optimism and comfortable working in uncertain conditions
These are not innate, you-either-have-or you-don't, attributes. Every single one can be developed. And The Personal Edge Program is the most effective way to do this and at a fraction of the cost of conventional training.