Since the start of the new decade, the novel coronavirus has infected not only thousands of humans around the world but the global economy. Severely attacking global trade, slowing down stock prices and paralyzing consumer demand. The condition of the patient is poor, but treatment is underway – the magic potion is called resilience.
Business resilience is the buzzword in the entrepreneurial world now. But what does it actually mean?
Nobody wants to swallow medicine that they don’t understand, so let’s take a closer look at some definitions of this magic potion, resilience:
Sounds like useful skill, doesn’t it?
Resilience is relevant because entrepreneurs are at risk of crisis all the time. Crisis is unavoidable and usually unforeseeable - most crisis comes as a surprise for entrepreneurs, like COVID-19 that caught most of us off-guard, just as we made our New year’s resolutions and got ready for a new thriving decade.
Resilience is relevant because the fewer resilience strategies you have, the bigger the risk that you won’t recover.
However, resilience is not only the ability to bounce back after a crisis. It is recognizing the need to adapt. Adding that pinch of salt in the magic potion is called adaptation.
Resilience is the ability to adapt to new conditions and to react promptly to changes. Adaptation is something that we are very familiar with in our private lives: we adapt to a new workplace, a different city, to the change of seasons, and to the people we are with.
And in the post-COVID-world, there will be plenty of adaptations to make: we most likely won’t be able to rely on our previous experiences as entrepreneurs – consumer values, work ethics and economic opportunities will have changed irreversibly. We might have to rebuild collaborations; change our thinking about work and how we deal with different consumers and customers.
Resilience is crucial to return to ‘business as usual’ after making it through a crisis. Resilience is, first of all, getting back on our feet, but it doesn’t stop there. We have to adapt to the changes that occurred and if best also try to foresee what challenges and changes await us in the future. It also means to not return to ‘business as usual’ after a crisis.
However, as we slowly free ourselves from the COVID-19 paralysis, we tend to forget there is one threat looming above us that should not come as a surprise:
the climate crisis.
Speculations about the post-COVID world are abundant online and offline – about what working, consuming, traveling will be like once the worst is over. And once we have a vaccine.
Speculations help us when we are stuck in situations with unpredictable outcomes. It makes uncertainties easier to bear in a world where less and less is certain. And it prepares us for the adaptions we will likely have to make in the future.
But why don’t we speculate about life in the climate crisis?
Climate change seems far, and its exact impact is as unpredictable as the impact of COVID-19. All we have is misgivings about temperature rises, natural catastrophes and resource shortages. But most of the time we rather choose to shut our eyes to the irreversible changes happening already.
It is unavoidable that at some point we will taste its bitter fruit.
Chances are good that this pandemic ends at some point, but climate change will start a chain of processes that are soon beyond our realm of influence.
It will without a doubt send us into an economic depression similar, if not worse, than coronavirus.
COVID-19 is a forewarning of what awaits us in the future – there is a lot in the pipeline, from resource depletion over loss in productivity to collapsing supply chains.
But next time, there will be no magic potion. No waiting for a vaccine.
We do not know how the current crisis will turn out. Whether the economy can be restored sustainably, how it will affect our work and consumption ethics, and what the crisis will mean for the cooperation between countries and governments.
Regardless of the outcome – what are you doing to get your business back on its feet? And are you – consciously or unconsciously - shutting your eyes to the unavoidable crisis in the near and far future?
Chinese has it right: its character for “crisis”, 危机, is constituted from the character for ‘danger’, and for ‘chance’, and that’s how you should treat your crisis management.
Plan accordingly for the next chance of danger. Learn how to minimize the negative impacts on your business by strengthening its immunity with resilience and adaption strategies. Companies like Feiy, offer free consultations and support in preparing for the climate crisis.
Feiy is a China-based platform offering sustainability services, programs and insights to help your business grow more purpose-driven profits. Contact Feiy at Pauline.Soudy@feiy.co to learn more.