COVID-19 Lessons Part 1: Organizational Adaptability and Black Swans

If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic revealed was our vulnerability to unusual and high-impact occurrences. Although the tragedy came with interruptions to businesses and global supply chains, it provides crucial lessons for other disruptive events in the future, whether a geopolitical conflict, a natural disaster, or unforeseen nature.

When the pandemic hit the world, organizations had to experiment with virtual work and can now realize its many benefits. Unfortunately, taking that action due to circumstances might lead to chaotic and substandard outcomes, damaging how they perceive remote work. It is a ruinous and manageable situation that might leave a long-lasting scar on the organization even after containment of the virus.

Therefore, the approach towards remote work must be a proactive strategy for preparing the organization for unavoidable changes from global disaster to technology, but not a reactive solution once the events occur. This article seeks to review three things.

1. The Development of Black Swans

We should consider unforeseen events via three general levels, i.e., context, catalyst, and visual factors. But we usually fail to focus on the correct one when trying to get conversant with them.

  • Causal factors

A real black swan nearly arises from the crash of numerous interlinked causes that accumulates over each other upon a trigger, thus becomes extremely challenging to predict and understand.

  • The Setting or Context

Seismic events do not occur in seclusion. The disparity between a real black swan and any dramatic occurrence is traceable to whether there is an all-encompassing situation in the global economy that offers a platform for a particular event to intensify.

  • Catalyst

A catalyst takes numerous forms, and it is the spark that triggers the motion. In a setting where there are causal factors and the context, a catalyst eventually emerges regardless of its specific form.

Looking at COVID-19, it is developing into a black swan but at the same time threatens to acts as a catalyst for the next black swans. It comes with dislocating effects on the economy and financial market, and how we react, either with flexibility and viewpoint or freak, determines the extent to which these impacts transpire.

2. The Best Ways to Prepare for the Next Events

Let us look at how specific business practices can play a role or help limit our vulnerabilities to such events.

Focus Shift from Prediction to Scenarios

It does not mean that you completely stop predicting, but there is a need to embrace a mentality that focuses on what consequences can happen instead of what we think is most likely to happen. Note that you should not attempt to get rid of risk since doing so gives a short-term gratification that everything is okay, but there will be an explosion later.

Maintain the Remote Work Program

When the current pandemic abates, you may not expect an extensive remote work program for your business. However, you will have anticipated benefits in terms of flexibility and productivity when there smaller-scale tragedies if you maintain a limited degree of remote work. For example, consider maintaining virtual teleconferencing rather than physical meetings. Although nobody knows when the next tragedy that requires remote working will occur, it would be risky to assume that such events won’t occur anymore.

Your Reaction to the Previous Crisis Determines the Next

To be more conscious of your exposures to the subsequent tragedies, closely examine your reaction to the previous one and the roles you deployed. Short-term overreaction is a bad habit among us and places deep in the wrong direction, and increases vulnerability to new errors.
It is time to have a rigorous review of the decisions you made after the previous crisis occurred. You can easily detect vulnerabilities that you unknowingly added into your value chain when you set aside more time to check your reaction to the previous crisis.

3. Why Organizational Adaptability is Important

Every tragedy presents an opportunity to review your foundational assumptions and make necessary modifications. At this moment, we may not know the degree of calamity COVID-19 will bring. However, the tragedy may speed up an astonishing outcome, rejuvenated appreciation for flexibility, and active preparation in how you and come up with the most impactful decisions. When you instill organizational adaptability, you increase the chances of survival and increase your competitiveness. Therefore, you can continue to operate at full speed when your competitors slow down or come to a standstill due to the crisis’s impact.

Embracing remote work and hiring remote workers has been a challenge to most businesses, but that should not be the case anymore. At DevReady, we have a virtual pool of talent that is available whenever the need arises. Contact us today to find great developers.

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