COVID Crisis Calls For Businesses To Don New 'Warrior Avatar', Rebuild Society Once Pandemic Recedes
The COVID-19 crisis is calling out to businesses to look beyond the economic lens, to remain relevant in the ‘after’, organizations need to look beyond just business
In a world fighting an escalating battle against a pandemic, the concept of 'heroes' has undergone a change. From millions drooling over a masked and caped crusader saving imaginary millions on a silver screen, we have turned to worship our new and real superheroes who are sporting a medical mask and a white coat, and if he/she is lucky then a hazmat suit too, and saving millions.
COVID-19 is one social battle which the government and health agencies alone cannot fight and win. It needs each and every one of us to become active warriors, most of us by staying home but many others by donning new roles. Most businesses are already devising survival plans on a war-footing, preparing strategies to minimize losses. But they need to pause for a moment and reflect on the need of the hour.
If we were to visualize the social and economic settings of the country as a large vehicle that has come to a standstill, will this standstill vehicle get moving by just getting your own small wheel primed and in shape? No! It won't. Not only will this vehicle require all its wheels to be primed and aligned, but it will also need a massive collection and a selfless push from all its warriors and heroes. Business, therefore, will have to take on a new 'warrior avatar' till our vehicle gets moving and gains acceleration.
This crisis is calling out to businesses to look beyond the economic lens. To remain relevant in the 'after', organizations need to look beyond just business. The government has already empowered businesses by notifying them that their CSR funds can legibly be employed for fighting the pandemic.
CSR activities need to be re-assessed and redrawn according to the needs of the phase we are in for which corporates must look beyond their own employees, business, stakeholders and contribute for the society as a whole; they need to mobilize their resources to support community, starting with the vulnerable first.
As the lockdown continues, hundreds of thousands of families are finding it difficult to manage even two daily meals. Businesses must come together on a common platform to not only give strength to their individual efforts but also to start putting together the big picture, a big picture which shows the scenario today, tomorrow, and for the post-pandemic period.
A bigger picture will help to lay down spaced-out goals which would cover all affected aspects and strata of society needing interventions as the situation rolls out. Starting with the current needs which are food, essentials, testing, equipment, and PPEs to the future needs for rebuilding society and the economy once the pandemic recedes.
Communities are looking up to these businesses, who are proven successes in their sectors, to bring their acumen and foresight for a greater good and survival. Businesses need to come together now and assess the needs of the country and devise and keep ready phase-specific strategies and plans to roll out when the need arises.
They need to plan like they would in a business crisis. Society will look at them to suggest innovative solutions to aid the social components including the vulnerable both individuals as well as businesses, get back on their feet.
The line of distinction which separates an organization's need from the larger needs of the society needs to be obliterated for the time being. This obliteration is essential so that all gears of the economy get back in their grooves as one to get the clock ticking once again; any misalignments will simply make the take-off impossible. The role of the private sector is extremely crucial. Businesses should not just limit their efforts to manage their economic parameters but take bold steps that ensure sustainable development.
Businesses need to take a step back from their usual economic activities and profit commitments and take a restock of their capabilities with a view to how best 'new-deploy' their existing resources to serve the requirements of today and tomorrow.
This time is calling out for innovation. Creative design thoughts on using the same resources to produce new products or services; that is the action-thought. Some luxury hotels are housing the health workers and the quarantined. Even railway coaches are being turned into temporary hospitals. Starting with the present where the requirement is sustenance, medical and quarantine requirements to requirements for rebuilding the economy the action field is enormous.
Organizations need to explore extensions in their value concepts so that they can come together with shared and common concepts leading to a common vision and goals to serve society with what is needed during these trying times.