No one imagined that a meal of exotic animals from a wet market in Wuhan could come at such an incredible cost, both in terms of human lives and economic deprivation.
The global tsunami that was coronavirus has weakened to a tropical storm that is blowing itself out in Venezuela, and people talk about the defining moment in terms of BC (Before Covid) and PP (Post Pandemic).
Granted, it’s not the Spanish Flu, where tens of millions of lives were lost, and financial markets have proved more resilient than the Credit Crunch, but the disruption to global trade and employment, booming industries like travel and hospitality, has been unprecedented in the modern era.
Stock exchanges around the world made an impressive comeback after the immediate Covid Crash – thanks partly to all the magic money that governments were dishing out, even as they locked people down in their homes. With no reason to spend, consumer savings shot through the roof, and all that liquidity needed a home. Investments, pensions, and mutual funds got the benefit, with institutions leading a buying spree of ‘cheap’ assets.
But the real damage only emerged later. Lost jobs and disrupted industries were what faced people when they finally emerged, only to find that nothing will ever be the same again. Like the winter of our discontent, there’s no early spring, and only ingenuity, creativity and innovation will save the day. Never before has there been such a burgeoning of the entrepreneurial spirit. With low interest rates and easy access to funding, new ventures have soared.
Which isn’t to say that major economic indicators like GDP didn’t take a hefty knock. Banks and conglomerates were caught short, and downsizing, restructuring and business re-engineering are the order of the day. At least the consultants are busy!
But there’s one thing businesspeople have learned that is paramount in these turbulent times: The old habit of being happy with the status quo, of laying careful plans and expecting them to come together, has been shattered. Agility and adaptability are the only strategies worth adopting, plus the willingness to take risks and experiment.
When the next crisis hits, as it surely will, be ready to pivot, not panic!