The Coronavirus crisis has dramatically increased the pace of change. In some instances driving undesirable change and in others creating some incredible breakthroughs. I am hearing about the many projects under way to develop a vaccine for the Coronavirus. They are figuring how to cut time to market by one-third to twelve months.
Opportunities for breakthroughs
These types of changes may seem out of reach. They require massive disruption and change at the global or national level. While that is true in this case, there are also many examples we can take advantage of. A local brick and mortar retail chain has struggled to move their business online. Now their stores are all closed they’ve been forced to ramp up online sales. And they are learning fast and their trend looks very positive. They had not been able to achieve this level of online sales over the past few years.
In another example, a healthcare institution has been introducing virtual visits using tele-medicine. The institution had struggled to move away from physical visits. In February they completed less than 50 virtual visits. In March they completed more than 1,500! Necessity can be the mother of invention.
What has to happen to sustain this change?
These breakthroughs are exciting! The even bigger challenge is sustaining and building from these initial results. The natural reaction is we can’t possibly continue this progress. It occurred because of special circumstances. When things go back to normal we will regress back to prior behaviors. But things are not going back to how they were, we have the opportunity to determine how we play in this new future.
To do this we need to ask ‘What has to happen to sustain this change?’ This is a very important question. It shifts our thinking away from it can’t happen to what would have to happen. Even if it seems impractical, outline what would have to happen. And then do it again, what would have to happen to make that happen?
We have a window of opportunity to lead important breakthrough changes. Don’t be constrained by what was possible, take advantage of what is possible now.