When the good comes out from the bad


When hard times hit, or a difficult life situation happens, you hear people ask: “Why is this happening to me?” prompting theologians, philosophers, book authors and speakers to expound on the topic: “When bad things happen to good people.” What if we reframe the question this time and ask: “What good things can happen out of the bad?”

Jason Feifer is the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine and host of the podcast Problem Solvers, and he offers compelling content. In one of the episodes, he talked lengthily about how good things usually follow a bad situation which I find exciting and appealing.

Jason says that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a global disruption but has also created opportunities for progress. History demonstrates that significant disruptions often result in significant change, and COVID-19 is no exception. Although it has caused tragedy and loss, it also has the potential to create a better and more innovative world. Before the Black Death, epidemics were considered a visitation from God or the devil, and wealth and privilege were viewed as deserved. However, the Black Death altered everything because it affected everyone, irrespective of social status. The labor market became more valuable, and the first true merchant class emerged.

World War II accelerated the entry of women into the workforce.

The 2008 recession forced a reconsideration of what we own and its worth, leading to the rise of Airbnb and Uber and a continuing transformation in our work.

The SARS outbreak gave rise to e-commerce usage.

COVID-19 propelled the young and seniors to learn digital banking and online shopping.

What will happen after COVID-19? Jason says we first need to comprehend how disruption typically occurs. Disruption frequently entails the arrival of a new substitute or competitor that does not adhere to the rules. Moreover, the competitor often does not appear to be a competitor initially. For instance, Kodak was not killed by digital cameras but by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. The social media platform replaced the need for physical photo albums, prompting a shift in consumer preferences. When a company faces disruption, it is essential to examine what the end-user is doing and where they are headed. Businesses must adapt to changing circumstances, rethinking internal systems and processes that may no longer be effective.

The COVID-19 pandemic is akin to a giant competitor that does not play by the rules. As with any disruption, we must look at the end users and where they are heading.

People are now working from home, necessitating new tools to build online communities, a rise in digital mental health services, and new leadership skill sets to keep people motivated and on task. People will start new projects that will be valuable and interesting in the coming years, and there will be greater adoption of telemedicine. Crisis changes how we think, and we must learn from this experience. We must balance preserving the traditional and known while being open to the unfamiliar and new. In the end, it is possible to find good amid tragedy and crisis.

Many years from now, we will have wondered why there is such a preponderance of open-source systems and then realize that people locked down in their homes had nothing much to do, so they spent hours exploring, experimenting, and introducing different software programs.

Opportunities appear after every crisis because change is forced upon us.

We do not change even when we see the light. We change in a significant way when we feel the heat. We can sit in our corners, brood, and moan about the losses brought about by the crisis, or we can keep ourselves sharp, alert, and vigilant, spotting good things and opportunities that are beginning to open up. In recent times nothing is hotter than the pandemic, and the world realizes that change, adaptation, adjustments, and even downright transformation need to happen if a business is to survive and thrive in a world subjected to a reset by the pandemic. The choice is ours to make.

(Francis Kong’s podcast “Inspiring Excellence” is now available on Spotify, Apple, Google, or other podcast streaming platforms.)



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