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What we thought as not relating to us, as happening in someone else’s backyard, all of a sudden, the coronavirus monster appeared front and centre before our eyes and scared us away from our comfortable normality. Then, we soon realized that no man or woman, no community, no race, no religion, no nation could claim any credentials that would buy them a more favoured treatment or put them in a less precarious position.

As the crisis unfolds and we sense the threat to us and the businesses to be very real, we feel the need to reflect on what is happening placing it in the context of the way we manage and run our businesses given that, especially in recent times, some harsh criticism was directed at businesses and their management.

Our current management, for example, has been criticized for being egotistically short-termist, for not caring for important stakeholders, for not respecting enough the environment and sustainability. The capital system finds itself open to question for allowing top managers to amass the wealth of the business-to-consumer cycle without due regard to the other stakeholders jeopardising in this way the cohesion of the community.

But it is to this cohesion of the community that we turn our attention in moments of crisis. And the questions suddenly right in front of us become graphically clearer and more pressing:

  • Are our businesses in normal times paying enough attention to the cohesion and strength of the community and society?
  • Cannot business care together for itself and its community?
  • Wouldn’t it be that an improved community will in the long term have beneficial effects on the business?
  • Have our businesses been somewhat blinded by the short-term logic failing to see, develop, and exploit the power and ingenuity of their people?

The crisis is indirectly addressing those questions by lending evidence to the following issues, issues that may form a framework for reflection:

  • Our Interdependence: In moments of crisis, like the coronavirus, or a refugee crisis, or a financial crisis, people cannot separate their fortunes from one another, neither can business from their communities. We are all interconnected and interdependent.
  • Community and the common good: Our community state of effectiveness in hygiene, or prosperity, or leadership influences the fate and future of all its constituents. This realization helps us see why we as citizens or businesses should care about our communities and societies. Caring for the common good, after all, is not incongruous with the caring for our own individual interest.
  • The smallness of Individualism: Nobody by him- or her-self alone has absolute control over his or her life irrespective of how high or low his or her position is. There are unknowns that can happen and can unpredictably and suddenly shape the fortunes of everyone.
  • Our existing ailing systems: Diagnosed for some time as in need of corrective treatment or surgery, they need some serious rethinking. The present crisis not only lends urgency to such thoughts, but also sheds light to possible new routes for action.

True reflection on these and similar issues could awaken us to a new mentality and approach to business and management. Afterall, as the old adage goes ‘No bad thing happens without some good things opening new possibilities’.

 

About the author: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training. You are welcome to communicate with us by email: psardos@sardossolutions.com or telephone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884, and to visit us at www.sardossolutions.com