Career-Long Lessons from a Once-in-a-Lifetime Disruption

Daniel Burrus
December 16, 2020

Daniel Burrus

One of the World's Leading Technology Forecasters and Business Strategists
Consumer Trends Business Leadership Personal Development Futurists Future of Work

Career-Long Lessons from a Once-in-a-Lifetime Disruption

For some, the post-coronavirus "new normal" is a frightening concept that rattles their status quo, while others are taking this moment to seize new opportunities afforded to us by a global disruption- as COVID-19 has proven to be. The fact of the matter is that the aforementioned opportunity is available to all of us, whether our "new normal" is unbearably difficult or extremely simple.

You may be asking yourself: How is that possible?

The key in leveraging this worldwide disruptive and still unpredictable virus to your benefit is to implement my Anticipatory Organization Model, where business leaders identify Hard Trends and Soft Trends, differentiate between the two, and use them to pre-solve the new problems headed our way in the "new normal."

New Opportunity Puts Significance Over Success

Even at the start of COVID-19, new opportunities were all around us. We must make sure that we have our opportunity antenna up at all times, and more importantly, we must understand what these new opportunities are.

Something to consider about these new opportunities emerging throughout the ups and downs of this pandemic is that their focus has fully shifted to one of significance, so in order for you to capitalize on them, you and your organization must shift your focus from one of status quo success to one of significance.

If you feel this concept to be a bit over your head, let me break it down for you with an example.

Concert Venues Gone Dark

A focus on success over significance is a focus solely on your bottom line, which is rather limiting.

Let's suppose your business is an indoor concert venue. This is something directly impacted by the global pandemic, as touring musicians have been halted completely. Your focus, as was that of any brick-and-mortar business at the start of 2020, has predominantly been on saving money as your income was and possibly still is completely cut off. Perhaps to preserve much of your dwindling bottom line, you decide to lay off most of your staff.

However, a Hard Trend - or future certainty - of the first wave of the coronavirus was that we would flatten the curve and move into the "new normal" we now find ourselves in, allowing many brick-and-mortar businesses to reopen. While you can now open your concert venue, you still cannot let a mass amount of people in for a live vent.

However, you do have a professional stage, professional lighting and sound, and even professional videographers. A shift to significance in this "new normal" would be renting out your venue to keynote speakers or other small events needing to go virtual in a more professional setting than, say, the individual's home office or living room.

This shift from success to significance will bring more to the bottom line, and, as perhaps lesser-known, more local musicians who are more heavily impacted by the coronavirus need a way to make a living. You could rent them your facility and make it their home base for a "virtual tour," where they sell tickets online and you take a small fee for the use of your facility.

Pre-Solve Problems With Innovative Solutions

Of course, with every opportunity comes pushback from those who are attempting to preserve their status quo.

Many brick-and-mortar businesses crunch the numbers of their operating costs and feel that pivoting during this "new normal" is too costly. But truth be told, in relation to becoming anticipatory, they are actually halfway there!

By taking tally as to what can go wrong or prove to be a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in their pivoting process, they are implementing the very Hard Trend Methodology mentioned above. Noting that operating costs would be something to consider as a potentially large concert venue is said concert venue identifying the future problems that could pose an issue to its adjustment to the "new normal."

Identifying these potential problems allows you to solve them before any one of them becomes a problem.

The "New Normal" Is Anything but Normal

 When we say the words "new normal," we should really ask: What exactly does "normal" mean? The phrase as a whole means "normal" won't be normal compared to the way we all used to operate, but that does not mean that there aren't amazing opportunities.

Many put their hope in the new vaccine as if it is some instant fix, but I often tell them that "hope" is not a strategy. You need a real, concrete strategy to navigate what is to come, and becoming an Anticipatory Leader, which identifies Hard Trends and Soft Trends as a way to pre-solve problems before they occur, is most definitely a way to shift from significance to success and ultimately become more recession-proof as an organization.

Daniel Burrus

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