Updated: May 8, 2020
Today I woke up with a splitting headache, historically this would have been attributed to previous nights revelries but in this case it was built up of premonition of past few weeks. Most people are ignorant or plain optimists and the impending economic harakiri is viewed as something they can tide over by standing in the long serpentine queues for a few hours to buy booze. Though, most people who know me feel I’m an eternal optimist too, but I must confess I never stood in those queues to replenish my stock, I had and have enough stock to last me at least a couple of more months. And from this stock, oops planning comes my optimism, that is, always look at the horizon, think far and wide, visualise different scenarios and then move ahead, actionise.
But this virus is something that no company in the world had planned for, I hear even the mighty have asked their employees to take salary cuts and they are letting people go, sorry they call it “right sizing”. The prediction is that most economies are headed towards depression, which may last at 4- 6 quarters if not more and then things will start getting better.
But what the predictors don't understand is that, people are just not sitting at home, they are innovating, upgrading and re-engineering business ideas. Since a long time information has been spreading faster than the threatening viruses. Everyday on social media we see different ideas, projects and business announced. It’s has announced an era of breaking the old moulds, of aligning with people and ideas that they believe in. The world will never go back to its old days, so stop dreaming that your business’s would. Everything from habits to attitudes to consumption patterns will change. So if you are one of those people who are eagerly waiting for the lockdown to lift, so you can go back to your old lives, I have bad news. This is no time to fantasise about how things were, rather seek out and make things, how they ought to be in the future. There will be disruption but of course, its not a doomsday scenario where all will come crashing down, most business will have to align to what the post-covid world needs. For a lot of industries things will not look the same for a long time, few businesses won't even survive, but the ones that will be successful are already making the changes now.
This gets me to the original point why I thought of writing this, Mr Moshe Dayan, you can google him and learn more about him, the historical backdrop and the politics around him, I just want to share the challenges and the result. During the Arab-Israel war of in 1967, which was also known as 6 day war or June War. Mr Dayan was the then Defence minister of Israel, along with the chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin, lead and defeated 3 countries Egypt, Syria and Jordan simultaneously. The war ended in 6 days with Israel gaining more territories from the Arabs countries. If we forget the who is right and who is wrong and focus on the strategy, then it was these three simplistic parallels we can draw inspirations from:
Support: Israel had made it clear to the US and European Nations that they would consider it as an act of war if their shipping lines in the Straits of Tiran are blocked. Once that happened, they already had support from their allies.
Businesses: We already have our Revenues blocked, this itself is an act of war by the virus's on the businesses, can we gather support from our allies, governments, investors and other stake holders to go out on the offensive? What is the tolerance level, what will be considered as existential threat? Increasing or generating enough revenue is the main purpose of any business if we can't find an alternate way, then we are already defeated.
Preemptive Strike: Israel whipped off 90% of air capabilities of Egypt on Syria in a pre-emptive strikes, this gave them a huge advantage in the war.
Businesses: Most companies think that going online is going to make a difference, No, innovation is required not only in delivery, but services and the products itself. Just focusing on the channel of delivery will not make businesses win. There are already companies who have gone back to the drawing board and are re-engineering their business, the day they announce their product or service, will be akin to carpet bombing their competition.
Final ground assault: With no air cover, the ground assault by the Israeli forces was swift and punishing, they made huge territorial gains. By the 6th day all the warring nations agreed to cease fire and the war was over with Israel emerging as a clear winner.
Businesses: Most people agree post-covid world will be different, any new idea that will make world easier and better will be lapped by the masses, that will be the final ground assault on the competition. Plan now, when the world opens you can actionise the rest of your plan and win.
Hope we all take some inspiration from Moshe Dayan, even if, you feel your industry doesn’t need major overhauling, but we all are fighting on different fronts and we have to come out as winners. Coming back to the headache, pain killer has worked, getting back to work on defeating it's cause.
Be positive and fight on.
P.S: I don't believe in wars, religious supremacy or regional supremacy, this piece shouldn't be take out of context. Its about attitudinal shift and drawing lessons from historical event minus the politics.