Like many people in business, the Covid 19 crisis has forced me to reassess what I do, how I do it and why I do it. Whilst this is scary, rebooting business & life is also an opportunity to get back to basics and do some fresh thinking. Of course, current realities and challenges have to take precedence, but proactive leaders are also looking down the road and envisioning the post-Covid-19 world. It’s hard to contemplate, but the seeds of the next big growth industries are being planted now.
A few years ago I read the profound book ‘Ikigai; The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ by Hector Garcia. Ikigai refers to a reason to jump out of bed each morning. Your ikigai resides at the intersections of what you love doing and what you are good at (often a natural extension of what brings you joy,) as you deliver a service or solution that the world needs.
Covid 19 has changed the world’s needs. We’ve seen the evidence of people and organisations responding to their communities’ immediate needs, exploring new ways of being of service. In the early stages of the crisis, as my schedule evaporated, I asked myself – what do my clients and contacts need from me?
To answer that, I had to ponder the question – where do I add value?
These are fundamental questions for every business, but so often we are too busy with the daily grind to pause and contemplate them. Now we can, in fact, we have no choice.
If you are in business, here are questions worth contemplating?
It can be argued that the purpose of a business is to make a profit, to give its investors a return, to offer employment and contribute to the economy. In recent years, companies have widened how they define success, and the Covid 19 crisis is prompting many more to do likewise. An enterprise needs to be viable, but perhaps there are other components of success that are not as easily measured on a spreadsheet.
Factors such as contributing to society and the quality of people’s lives, being a source of community, creating an enduring body of work, or being a voice for a cause. This prompts the larger question – how are your customers or community ‘better off’ because of you and your business?
Whilst ‘business as usual’ satisfied our needs for routine and certainty, the old normal wasn’t working for everyone. There were many aspects of the old ways that were beyond their sell-by date. We won’t go back to a world of compulsory office attendance, lengthy commutes, or stale meetings. The phrase ‘we’ve always done it this way’ will be resigned to the history books.
I’ve often closed leadership workshops and talks with this quote by the American philosopher and writer William Arthur Ward. This is a time for listening. What are we hearing and what are we learning?
For some, it’s the call of changing consumer needs, and the businesses that are pivoting and adapting to these needs are demonstrating leadership. At a personal level, others are hearing the call of long-held dreams and ambitions, now audible in the absence of routine busyness. They have a growing desire to take back control and instigate meaningful change in their lives in the Post- Covid world.
If you are seeking to reboot your life, not just your business, here are more questions to ponder.
It is impossible to overestimate the gravity of the present crisis and looming recession. Many people are wrestling with existential challenges and we are all operating in a world turned upside down. It can seem indulgent to use this time to set a new vision for lives and our business, but perhaps there is no better time. In fact, I believe this is what we are being called to do; to switch off and reboot.
If we are able to manage the daily challenges, but also lead with vision and a sense of possibility, we will emerge from the crisis stronger and more resilient. Whilst we cannot predict the future, we can shape it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this piece and do check out my post 2020 Vision where I share a number of questions I’m contemplating inside my cocoon that you should ask yourself also.
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