Society and our economy always change, but often at a glacial pace, and the massive forces behind it are not always easy to see. Sometimes the change is drastic and quick, such as those caused by this pandemic, the 9/11 attack, or the economic crash in 2008. They are like earthquakes. Like those who survive them, we will re-build and continue to live our lives. What we do and how we do it in our personal and professional lives will change. It’s up to use to decide whether or not we will change for the better or worse.
The economy slowly recovered after the 2008 crash until we reached a point of record employment. Because of COVID-19, our economy has turned downward on a proverbial dime. Within weeks millions are unemployed. Years of gains in the stock market are wiped out. Ways of doing business in the past are, if not impossible, difficult and, for some, possibly dangerous to their health.
We have changed before and we will change again. After 9/11, security became a much higher concern. Travel became more difficult. We complained about security lines and wasted time. The savings in time, energy, and costs of teleconferences and videoconferences compared to physical meetings drove their popularity. Airport security processes have improved over the years, waits are shorter, and videoconferences have become the lifeblood of our COVID-19 business and personal lives.
The lending bubble burst in 2008, causing a recession. There was so much money to be made when high-risk customers received loans. These debts were bundled up, sold off, and became someone else’s problem. “Credit default swaps” became a phrase of everyday conversation, though even 12 years later, how many of us know what they are? How banks loan money and how real estate risks are considered have changed.
We tell ourselves and others how agile we and our businesses are, how responsive we are to our customers and the marketplace, but for most us of any substantial, meaningful change often comes after we suffer a personal or economic baseball bat to the head. Are most of us as perceptive, flexible, or forward-thinking as we’d like to be? No, because we think it’s too much work.
We’re comfortable in our ways. Things are going well enough. Sure, we’ll fine-tune an approach or dip our toes into a new pool of water once in a while, but, change? That’s a risky, dangerous, potentially resource-draining leap of faith that could severely set back your business, no matter what the possible gain might be. Right?
We’re hard-wired to think this way, though it’s not impossible to break the cycle. Humans are, generally, by nature, risk averse. Our lives are guided by habits, whether that’s how you run your business, eat your lunch, or take a vacation. They reassure us that everything’s OK and conserve our brainpower for more significant decisions. Habits are like stretching back in a soft recliner with a warm puppy in your lap.
But events sometimes throw us off the recliner. We’re on the floor, the puppy has run off, and a snarling pit bull stands over us. It’s never going to the same.
This pandemic should force us to look at our habits and to reevaluate our assumptions and biases when we think about our businesses. We need to wake up from our trance. The world’s COVID-19 trip has just begun. Where and when it’ll stop, we don’t know yet, but it will be a very different world demanding a different approach to business. COVID-19 will shift how we operate our business, market, and sell our products or services whether we like it or not.
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If your business is facing legal challenges due to COVID-19 and the response to it, call us now for a COVID-19 Strategy Session, and let’s talk about how we can help you to run your business without worrying about the underlying legal consequences. Call us now at (714) 415-2007 or reserve your spot by clicking the link: https://bit.ly/COVID19StrategySession