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Creating Opportunities Out of Chaos

Posted by Thomas Edwards on April 18, 2020 12:15 PM EDT
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COVID-19 has had such sudden and dramatic impact and has negative ramifications for....

...social, financial, career and physical wellbeing, that it is hard to think of how we can turn this horrible situation into POSITIVE Intended Consequences.  So often we think of the negative unintended consequences of positive actions or situations.  The question now becomes, once we resolve the horrible current situation of COVID-19, how do we create intentional and socially, healthy and economically positive outcomes?

A recent opinion piece in the e-newsletter Knowledge@Wharton focused on such a topic.  In this opinion piece, Yoram (Jerry) Wind, emeritus professor of marketing at Wharton, and Nitin Rakesh, CEO of Mphasis, an IT firm headquartered in Bangalore, India, discussed how to create opportunities in a time of crisis and they offered 10 guidelines to help organizations and individuals "turn lemons into lemonaid". Rakesh and Wind are collaborators and co-authors for a forthcoming book titled, Transformation in Times of Crisis.

The ten guidelines largely flow from possible answers to the following questions in regards to the COVID-19 crisis:

1.     How do we cope with this crisis now? 

2.     What opportunities does this crisis create?

3.     What can be done to anticipate crises in the future and prepare for them? Even if it isn’t possible to preempt a future crisis, how can we prepare to respond rapidly and effectively?


     1. Change your mental model

       2.  Step up your digital transformation and invest in infrastructure

       3. Identify new business opportunities generated by the crisis

       4.  Reexamine your talent strategy

       5. Identify areas of opportunity through an idealized design process

       6. Switch from a shareholder-focused organization to a stakeholder-focused one

       7. Speed up the switch to a network orchestrator model

       8. Assure your organization’s agility, adaptability, and resilience by enhancing its culture and reinventing its architecture

       9. Re-examine your business model and operations. Challenge your revenue model to identify opportunities for increased efficiency and profitable growth

       10. Innovate and adopt an adaptive experimentation approach


      In fact, these guidelines are probably not just applicable to the strategic organizational responses to COVID-19, but are reasonable strategic responses for any organization that has found that growth will not come by operational excellence and re-embracing the best practices that used to work.  Crisis creates the energy that great leaders, not good managers of the status quo that used to work, can shape into outcomes far eclipsing the pre-crisis focus on operational excellence as the primary driver of success.






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