When this crisis began, most of us (including myself) probably thought it will be just a matter of time until we return back to normal, to “Normality 1.0”. There are, however, fundamental changes taking place right now, which cannot be reverted:
- Countries and companies suffer in very different ways from the crisis. This changes the competitive landscape and changes relative positions within. Nobody will simply keep their position “for historic reasons”. Past has passed, there is no way back.
- This crisis is not over yet and will not disappear before there is a substantial medical solution (vaccination or at least cure from life-threatening symptoms). It will be a deep cut, deeper than anything most of us ever experienced in our lifetimes. Hence, the situation after the crisis will be very different from what is was at the beginning.
- Digitized business models will thrive much faster than expected because the crisis paved their way while it currently tends to block the way for traditional face-to-face procurement, production and delivery of goods and services.
- I am not a psychologist, so I want to mention this part with all uncertainty I have here: It must have a long-term effect on us being confronted with the topic “death” in such massive way and for such a long time. For several weeks on TV we see these black body bags, fork lifts and trucks transporting them, we see bodies in ICU’s connected with plastic tubes to machines et cetera. I think it must have some effect on the way we see things in life, on our priorities, values.
- As a child and young adult I liked movies in which mankind globally finally found together due to an alien attack, realising how things that we as humans have in common are so much more important than things that divide us. Now, the “aliens” are much smaller than expected and they attack from the inside. Although it sounds quite naive, there might be some positive effect in this direction, a global feeling that we are all together in this. Certainly, the current fight for medical equipment does limit this optimism. Still, I believe that some of this “global alliance” feeling will persist.
Taking these five points together, a return to “Normality 1.0” cannot be expected.
We all have to think now how “Normality 2.0” will look like and how we can prepare ourselves for this.
What are personal consequences from this?
I suggest to think of what core competencies made you successful so far and what realistic future scenarios are, in which you still can leverage these competencies. Which will be the additional demands (very probably related to digitization) in these scenarios and what can you do to master these? The book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, provides valuable orientation for this.
For some this time means a lot of additional work, for others it is a time to take a deep breath and … learn new things. If you belong to the second group (members of the first group will probably not read articles like this at the moment …), my advice is to use the time for learning those things that will be necessary for your success in “Normality 2.0”.