It was on March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization (WHO), officially announced that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) reached a pandemic status, which, means the “worldwide spread of a new disease.” In a short span of time, there has been a sea-change in not only the personal but also the professional lives of every individual on the planet. One single Virus has rendered us helpless – we have had to change lifestyles, adapt to newer norms, and stay productive while working from home and also to learn to cope with confinement. Whether on a professional or personal front, all of us are coping with change and responding with varying degrees of success. Routines, business, countries and the global economy went into a tailspin. When routines are disrupted, uncertainty looms. Precisely what happened with the Corona Virus – COVID 19 – ran rampant across the world. Immensely potent, this Virus has claimed many lives globally.
After quite a few months of lockdown, gradually the limitations are being eased and businesses are starting to function. Social distancing, Work from Home, flexible working are no longer just something one reads about – these are the grim realities that are upon us. And we are practicing them. But, as they say in show business – The show must go on. Those who need to step up to the plate, work hard, and deliver results, must. And it is in this scenario that sticking to a work schedule, functioning smoothly and coordinating work-flow becomes a different ballgame altogether. Professionals across the world are coming to terms with the new work order.
It has been said, “A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks life throws at him”. And in these past few months, COVID-19 has thrown a lot of bricks at us. Our lives have been thrown into turmoil, with set norms being disrupted and routines going for a toss. With all the bricks that have been thrown at us, it is time that we change our attitude and perspective from being victims to opportunity-driven. It is time for us to examine all the problems we are facing and rather than being disheartened, we should look for opportunities.
Amidst all the distressing news of illness, stress, losses and recession, the reality is that people are looking for hope and employed people are looking to their leaders for guidance and strength. Leaders cannot allow themselves to become affected and get carried away by all the negativity in the media. It is precisely now more than ever, that they need to believe in their purpose, and take courage to continue pursuing their destiny!
A positive, can-do attitude and perspective change requires courage and strong leadership. It is much easier to roll over and give up than it is to take courage and fight back! As an entrepreneur, your leadership and entrepreneurial ability will definitely be tested to never before levels. This could be a blessing in disguise as history teaches us that great leaders arise from near-impossible situations. This crisis, ironically, could be an opportunity for you as a business owner to take your leadership ability to a new level. As it is said, “The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis.”
It all depends on what kind of leader are you in a crisis. Are you functioning properly in the current crisis that has rocked our world? Are you the type of leader that you, yourself, would look up to during these testing times? It all comes down to passionately believing in what you are doing and what you believe to be your cause – nothing quite as inspirational as a person with a meaningful cause. A leader that leads with strength, dignity, and a moral conviction to execute his God-given purpose on earth. And in the words of the late Dr. Myles Munroe, “Leadership is the capacity to influence others, through inspiration, motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose.”
Interestingly, In the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters: one represents danger and the other one represents opportunity. And this is where one needs to make a careful inspection – what possible opportunity can be hidden amid the turmoil, confusion, and downturn that COVID-19 has wrought? How can you or your business, amidst an economic crisis, function smoothly or even change direction for the better? As businessmen, as leaders and as responsible corporate citizens, I believe it is time for us to go down memory lane – to think back to our early days in business. Let us think and remember as to why did we really go into business? Why did we start that business way back? We all started our businesses for a reason, we all had a clear goal in our minds. Here, the most important question however is, have you compromised on your purpose or the original pattern of your business amid the crisis? This is the point where you must motivate not to quit and give up, but rather to take up your cause and push on relentlessly!
Rethink, revisit the original purpose as to why you are in business, let this purpose strengthen your resolve – once you are firm in your conviction, it shows in your actions and routine. Your employees will take their lead from you and be inspired by your strength, instead of fearing for the future. Never stop dreaming, no matter how bleak the outlook appears!
There can be no greater advocate of perseverance than Steve Jobs. He has said, that he was convinced the factor that separated successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful entrepreneurs is pure perseverance. Remember, perseverance is a result and not something you can force. That result is produced by a strong conviction to fulfill your purpose.
And it is not Purpose alone that will not help you steer your ship safely through this storm, the situation requires you to have an action plan to back up the purpose of your business. The business world is collectively moving into the unknown. We are not sure how the Covid-19 crisis will change our respective markets and industries. Since this is beyond our control, it is wiser to spend our time revising our strategy and adjusting our business model for life after lockdown.