Well-being And Wealth In A Post-Pandemic World: A User’s Manual For Businesses
There are time-tested efforts to enhance the physical and mental well-being of employees and leaders that can help companies tide over the current crisis efficiently.
One of the most interesting things about the Covid-19 world is that it made the much-cliched saying ‘health is wealth’ more historically important than ever. As the world battles its way out of one of the most pervasive and powerful pandemics humanity has ever seen, the need for humans to be ‘healthy’ and ‘fit’ is felt across the globe, calling for a paradigm shift in the way we live, work and interact.
Business people understand this change. In fact, they understand it better than many others given that they have been one of the most prominent and immediate victims of Covid-19. And they are making efforts to make a difference, to themselves and to the communities they serve. Yes, there are time-tested efforts to enhance the physical and mental well-being of employees and leaders that can help companies tide over the current crisis efficiently. For instance, a business leader who is an art connoisseur or an enthusiast of music and painting stands a better chance to make better decisions in the current environment than one who’s more stressed and worried about what’s going on.
Again, a company that will encourage a positive environment inside its offices, through motivating conversations, friendly gatherings, flexible work atmosphere, etc. can weather the pandemic in a much better way. But is that enough? Hardly.
This calls for an interesting question. How important a role mental and physical wellbeing is going to play in a post-pandemic business scenario? How are business leaders going to tune their vision, mission and even ambition in sync with this ‘new health order’?
The answer lies in a Zen proverb I came across recently: “Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong”. It says a lot about the world we are in now. Covid-19 has proven us more pliable and soft than ever. Yes, we’ve been beaten and we’ve been made vulnerable. But our ability to find an opportunity in a calamity must come into play now. We must be able to learn the right lessons from this submissive scenario and be able to rise up like the proverbial phoenix. Because we’ve suffered, we will be able to surge ahead.
Yes, that’s easier said than done. But that’s not impossible. As Peter Drucker puts it, the best way to predict the future is to create it. So, in order to be more competent and successful in a post-pandemic world, businesses -- especially business leaders -- must embrace what I’d like to call the “More Moment”. What do we mean by that? Simple. This is a juncture in history where we must go the extra mile to make things happen. Let’s be honest, we do not have the luxury of complacency or saturation. We cannot relax. We have to go for the ‘More’.
Mainly, four crucial areas call for the application of the More Moment today so that a business can be healthier: 1) Discipline 2) Resilience 3) Compassion and 4) Insights. This works at two levels: at the individual level and at the institutional level. Let’s look at the individual first. If you’re an entrepreneur or a business leader looking for an opportunity to grow during these difficult times, it’s time for you to be more disciplined, more resilient, more compassionate and more insightful than you have ever been.
Similarly, for enterprises, the More Moment helps bring in structural changes that will be sustainable. Interestingly, at an enterprise level, the More Moment comes with more telling transformations as business success impacts society at a larger level.
More on the More Moments
Now, let’s look at these four components in detail. First, discipline. Covid-19 has taught businesses to go frugal. When resources fall short, you’re forced to do the maximum with the minimum. Companies were focussing on discipline in the past too. But the pandemic made it an integral component of survival. It has become a philosophy rather than a business strategy. Companies must now embrace more discipline in the way they plan, produce and distribute their products and services; in the way they manage human resources; in how they streamline workflows and estimate output.
Next is the need to be More Resilient. Only a resilient entity can turn a crisis into a coveted commodity. This is the moment we should be more resilient so that we don’t get pulled down by the crisis at hand and miss the larger picture. If you are, for instance, a hotelier who lost business in the wake of the pandemic, you must tell yourself to be up for more shock and plan accordingly rather than taking temporary solace in the news and prophecies of a quick turnaround in the pandemic affairs. Be firmer, plan for the long haul, be determined with your strategies for the future and, above all, be more resolute.
That said, how does being more compassionate help here, you may wonder. “Out of compassion, I destroy the darkness of their ignorance. From within them I light the lamp of wisdom and dispel all darkness from their lives" says Bhagavad Gita. Only a compassionate enterprise can understand the needs of the customer rightly. Compassion brings in clarity of vision and alleviates paranoia.
This would require the company to put aside concerns around profit margins and focus on making a difference in the lives of the customers. Interestingly, such an approach means business, too. History shows that the most valuable companies are also the ones that have taken a compassionate view towards customer needs, business strategies and human resources management. The time has come for enterprises and business leaderships to be more compassionate, walk the talk on understanding the customer needs, take an honest view of their product making processes and introduce changes.
Data with a heart
The final and arguably the most important element where enterprises and their leadership must go for the more is in terms of gathering insights. In a pre-pandemic world, numbers and stats did the job. From sales, employee management and business practices to advertising and promotion, businesses go for data-enabled insights, often ignoring the importance of intuition.
The global policy response to Covid-19 proved that a hybrid approach is the need of the hour. As you've noticed, in the initial phases of the Covid-19 crisis, governments and leaders anchored their decisions on intuition and not exactly on data, which they used only to support their intuitive measures. So, this is the moment where businesses should gather more insights, in a hybrid way, blending data with intuition and enhancing their plans in accordance with the new normal.
Summing up, such an approach towards doing business in the post-Covid-19 or Covid continuous world can bring in rich results, by making enterprises and their leaders healthier, more competent and more target-driven. It will also make them more value-for-money.
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