We’re getting through the initial survival stage of this crisis. We know we’re not out of the woods yet. Not by a long stretch.
But as forward-looking beings, we are all starting to think ahead and imagine what our new world is going to look like.
This is a crisis like no other, so there’s very little precedent we can use as a model for how to get through this. There’s no blueprint for how our lives and our careers will be affected, both short-term and long-term.
From this vantage point right now, we are still grasping at straws to some extent. There are so many opinions out there, but not a great deal of consensus.
My reaction when confronted with conflicting opinions is to find the smartest ones I can find.
In this pursuit, I watched Malcolm Gladwell’s online Munk Dialogue about what major changes lie on the other side of COVID-19.
As usual with Malcolm Gladwell, his answers surprised me. But I think his premise is very strong and worth listening to.
He points out that globalization has exposed weaknesses. One of the consequences of our just-in-time global supply chain is that when one link breaks, the system goes down.
“Our vulnerabilities are numerous, scattered and hidden.” – Malcolm Gladwell
He cites an important relative lesson here. While this shutdown is costing the world economy literally trillions of dollars every week, Gladwell contends that this whole crisis could have been averted by spending merely a few million on a storehouse of protective equipment.
That may be an over-simplification but he does make an extremely important point as we mull over directions for the future.
He suggests that our interconnected world has become defined not by its strongest links, but by its weakest.
“My hope for the post-COVID-19 world is that we finally take weak links seriously.” – Malcolm Gladwell
Certainly, the pandemic has exposed the dangers of an individual-first mindset. At this time, we are all tarred by the experiences of our most vulnerable. That reality has come home as never before.
And that’s a fact we have to keep in mind in all our planning for the post-COVID world. A solution that works for the 1% or one that even works for 70% isn’t enough. That still leaves dangerous gaps that eventually come back to haunt us.
Something to think about as we all focus on staying healthy and thinking ahead to a time when this will be behind us.
Thanks as always for reading.
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