I remember the Boomtown Rats song ‘I don’t like Mondays’ being released. It’s memorable for many reasons. At the time, I was struck by the creativity of taking that one phrase, and spinning a story from it. There’s a lot of that going on at the moment – people are taking one or two facts, adding a few assumptions, some prejudice, and constructing a whole narrative.
This can range from ‘It will be over by Easter’ to ‘The world has ended’. All these narratives have one thing in common: they serve an agenda. We all have a worldview – the question is, are you basing yours on facts or fables? This is easy to test: if a verified fact challenges you, do you consider how to adjust your view, or do you refuse to consider it at all?
Business runs on facts and beliefs. We act on established facts – and beliefs about how stable or likely to change those facts are. Currently, it is difficult to know what the future will be like – in the short, medium and long term. This applies both globally and locally. In the face of uncertainty, scenario planning becomes more important. We can project a range of probable situations, and test actions and assumptions against those scenarios. Plans can then be evaluated for probable rewards and risks for various outcomes.
That is what we have been doing over the last few weeks: adjusting our plans as the facts change, making contingencies for various possible scenarios, and ensuring that we, our clients, partners and suppliers come through this with the least possible damage and the best chance to be in a strong position once the coronavirus passes, as it will.
It is not an easy process, and we will have made some incorrect decisions. That is a given – but what will distinguish the survivors from the victims will be the speed of adaptation in the face of new information.
Stay safe – and be flexible.