Before the pandemic, we were already immersed in an unstoppable change process. The arrival of Covid-19 in our lives has initiated or accelerated a process of transformation. Many changes are not only at the technological level but also in the way we work and interact from within organizations. This paradigm shift has had a direct impact on people in all organizations.
Here, my three precious lessons from 2020.
Lesson #1 — We Must Learn To Live With Uncertainty
2021 will be dominated by uncertainty and we must learn to live with uncertainty. However, our civilization has instilled in us the need for ever more certainties about the future. It’s only a few tens of nanometers. This tiny virus, which is a microscopic being, has found a way to break the ordinary course of life on a planetary scale.
We have an obligation to manage unprecedented risks of different kinds. This has led us to reorganize ourselves on multiple levels. But risks and uncertainty are not the same things. Uncertainty is an unpredictable set of changes. We need to have to detect and adapt to unpredictable changes in our environment and respond to these changes.
The small coronavirus has managed to turn the planetary destiny on its own. He invites us to take the future seriously. We may be bringing about opportunities… Potentialities for action. There is room for will and innovation.
While everything seems more uncertain than before, we go back to thinking about the “Post Corona” or “Post Covid” world. We are thinking about the future in the long term, taking into account what we want and what we already know, but also what we are doing. At the same time, we learn and understand the situation we are living in.
We try to surround ourselves with as much certainty as possible, but life is to navigate in a sea of uncertainties. We must learn to live with uncertainty and adopt an “uncertainty” mindset.
Lesson #2 — Become More Relisient And More Antifragile
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that people adapt and recover from the most difficult situations. Working remotely has allowed us to carry on with our daily activities and stay close to our loved ones at times when we needed to take care of each other the most.
Remote work was the resource so that the world did not stop and that we could continue our economic activity, using a strong dose of experimentation, but also by learning to prioritize the real concerns of life. On the one hand, the pandemic arouses the creative imagination and on the other hand, it arouses fears and mental regressions.
To successfully deal with this situation we have to train people to adopt a leading attitude from self-leadership and living change from resilience and antifragility.
The lockdown is a kind of trauma. It’s when you’re locked up that you long for freedom. During this unprecedented period of today’s lockdown, everyone will crystalize their trauma. There will perhaps emerge a new way of living together. It’s resilience.
The definition of resilience refers to the resumption of new development after a traumatic crash. It’s pretty simple. The difficulty lies in discovering the factors of resilience. Resilience is a person’s ability to adapt following trauma.
“What does not kill me makes me stronger” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
“What does not kill me makes me stronger”, said Nietzsche. In fact, resilience doesn’t erase anything, it allows you to endure and continue.
While, if the resources of resilience prevail, then everything will be different, we will have suffered but learned something, and we will be less fragile. Beyond resilience, we have the concept of antifragility.
As Nassim Nicholas Taleb illustrates in Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (2012), antifragility consists, not in recovering from the trauma, but improving with the trauma.
“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
An anti-fragile organization is one that rather than endure or recover (it would be “resilient”), makes it improve, take advantage of and go further thanks to the hard trauma it received. It is the one that thrives in difficult environments, adapting, and even anticipating the changing world in which it lives.
The fight against covid-19 is a fight for antifragility: we would never have thought of it, we weren’t prepared, but if we learn from the mistakes we made we will get closer to being less fragile.
Lesson #3 — Bear In Mind That Is A Tech World
The robotization and algorithmization of entire swathes of once human activities are accelerating. And the pandemic is no stranger to it since the machines do not get sick and are not confined. Covid brought 2030 to 2020!
In his new book Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity, Scott Galloway, a professor at New York University, identifies the companies and industries that he believes will succeed or fail soon. He recalls what seems to be obvious: our world is a tech world and we live in it.
“It’s big tech’s world. We just live in it. The dominance of big tech is not a surprise ... Often, those observations came with a caveat: what goes up must come down. The rapid rise of these companies must mean that there’s froth in their stock price, and that when the music stopped, they would come down just as fast as they rose. Nope. As with so much else, the pandemic has taken this trend — the increasing dominance of our lives and economy by just a few tech companies — and accelerated it ten years. In no small part that’s because of the dynamics I identified: the market is rewarding winners like never before. But the winners in big tech are being rewarded to an even greater degree because their advantages are even greater. This is most true with respect to the Four.” — Scott Galloway, Post Corona.
We cannot skimp on technology. Raise your hand who this year did not have to use video calls, download Zoom, Chime, Discord, Slack or Jitsi.
Although we became more open to using technology and getting more out of it, it must be a tool that changes our lives in something, that helps us to innovate. Technological changes for companies must be even more profound and definitive. We need to think big.
“Post corona, the benefits of increased flexibility that come with remote work alternatives will flow to the already well off … Working from home can mean a lot of different things. Senior people with big houses in the suburbs have dedicated office rooms and equipment, many have even worked out full-time childcare, or their kids are old enough they don’t need constant supervision. Junior people, on the other hand, are more likely to live in cramped apartments and starter homes that don’t have dedicated workspaces.
Those frustrations spell opportunity, however. The same tech that enables working from home also enables working from satellite and temporary offices.” — Scott Galloway, Post Corona.
For entrepreneurs, developers and technology users there is a very great opportunity in the incorporation of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, automation and optimization of data management. In terms of remote work, all possible technology will be welcome for the evolution and real generation of well-being. The future is past and the benefits have become obligations.
Thanks for taking the valuable time to read these reflections. I know that 2021 will be as challenging a year as the one we just had.
Wishing you and yours healthy and prosperous 2021.
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