Post-Pandemic Success Will Be Determined by What You Do Now, Not What You Do Post-Pandemic. No one ever thought that starting in this new decade, our booming economy and flourishing job market would be placed on "pause" due to a worldwide outbreak of a virus, yet here we are.
2020 has been an interesting year to say the least, but there are obvious similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and digital disruption. One in specific that I've noticed is the application of my Both/And Principle versus the traditional Either/Or mindset.
Prior to COVID-19, when new digital technology emerged, the prevailing mindset was that the old technology is obsolete and the new technology is far superior. Yet, the "out with the old and in with the new" mindset can be quite detrimental to small and large businesses, and here's why.
The "Greatly Exaggerated" Death of In-Person Shopping
With Amazon dominating the retail shopping market since its inception, we were certain that we would see the end of big box stores as Sears and Boston Store fell hard. That wound has been salted during a pandemic, with individuals now needing to shop online for nearly everything without an alternative.
However, even during this lock down, businesses must innovate, so why can't every single retailer join the ranks of Amazon in eCommerce? Several stores transitioned to curbside pickup and likewise, as we transition to a post-pandemic phase, those same physical retailers both big and small should implement my Both/And Principle and continue offering curbside pickup to those still skittish about shopping in-person.
Rideshare Can Choose Both/And
Just this week, Uber reported that their business is down by more than 50% and because of this, they used Zoom to layoff nearly 3,500 customer support roles, and drivers on the platform are struggling as well.
Yet, while UberEats offers delivery of food similar to GrubHub, why can't they expand into the dozens of other curbside pickup opportunities out there, whether it's your groceries or something from a local pet store. Considering going forward, stores may continue to offer in-person and curbside pickup as mentioned above, Uber, Lyft and the like could permanently expand into the market.
That's another ideal illustration of my Both/And Principle already in practice with UberEats. One option does not have to be an all-encompassing entity that you make your entire business about; you can employ both and expand rather than lay off thousands and "erase" the past, a middle ground that contributes to the real convenience of the post-pandemic world.
Rebirth: Drive-In Movie Theaters
As mentioned earlier, many see new technology and the new way of doing things as putting the old out in the cold permanently, leaving it to be forgotten about when thinking "how could the old possibly be useful in a time when we have new, convenient and even cost-effective ways of doing things?" Movie theaters were decommissioned seemingly overnight when the Coronavirus made landfall here in the United States, but with the abundance of streaming services, many merely adapted by binge-watching their favorite shows without giving it thought.
But in this case, the old and the new both have functional strengths; you just have to look a little closer, and thanks to a global pandemic, the "old ways" may be some industry's savior. Attending a movie prior to COVID-19 involved going to a theater, sitting in a recliner with some popcorn and watching a new release. Yet how does a movie theater company innovate when not a soul is allowed in?
The answer: drive-in movie theaters. It's easy to stay socially distant when you only have to leave your car to potentially use the restroom. This once-forgotten business model is in talks of making a comeback, in some ways rivaling streaming services as the pervading fact is that human beings need some type of social stimulation, even if it is at a distance. You would be able to go to the movies with friends, physically see them, and never have to be close enough to violate social distancing rules. Post-pandemic, it is likely that many will still enjoy sitting on their tailgate to watch their next movie.
My Both/And Principle in business holds true both during this pandemic and after it. When we face a paradigm shift, it's detrimental to completely discard the life we had before it, as shutting down the "old" limits innovation as much as being resistant to the "new." In your life and in your organization, what integration of the old and new--using the Both/And principle--can you think of to improve overall function, products and services?
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