Where were you, December 2019?
Winding up the years' work? Or taking a well-deserved vacation in the sun?
Who could have known the end was only weeks away and "normal" would never be the same again?
America has changed
When the threat of Covid-19 began its rampage, the world scrambled to defend itself against the unseen adversary resulting in insurmountable damage to their economies.
In the US, benchmarks of the American way of life were the first to go. Lockdowns ended sports events, and movies went digital. Shopping trips and travel disappeared. Restaurants shuttered. And so did the industries that supported them. Commerce went online. For those with jobs, working from home became the only option.
Rebuilding the vision
At the start, people were forced to concentrate on the day-to-day to survive. Now it's time to focus on the bigger picture, beyond today or tomorrow.
It's obvious; there's no going back.
Unsurprisingly, the world continues to wade through immense anxiety, and depression. Economically, both businesses and individuals tackle enormous challenges. Unemployment rates temporarily improved but have since risen.
In November, before Pfizer announced that they had succeeded in creating a vaccine, the American economy had dropped to 79% of March 2020 levels.
By 2021, with the Pfizer vaccine's roll-out and resolution of the election, uncertainty pandemic recovery can resume.
The great reset and shape of the recovery
The term "Great Reset" first appeared ten years ago as the world recovered from the crash of 2008. And it still fits today's realities as we adjust to the challenges this year has created.
It's still too early to plot the course of our economic recovery. Will it be K-shaped or U-shaped or the best-case scenario, the V-shape, some financial experts say is still possible?
But this reset isn't only about recovery but reinvention.
Covid-19 has left the majority of people suffering some level of financial insecurity. Retirement savings will yield lower balances for seniors, while Millennials face the burden of student debt and a weakened job market. The possibility of zero or negative interest rates and increased inflation threatens everyone.
While some sectors struggle, others thrive. For those that flourish, reinvention is critical. Businesses have been saved by flexibility and the ability to pivot while others simply faded away.
One of the best-known pivots was General Motors, switching in March from automobiles to ventilators at its plant in Indiana. Restaurants, prevented from opening during the lockdown, pivoted to takeaways, saving their businesses and keeping their staff.
Tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple kept the stock market healthy. Agility allowed these businesses to flourish despite the pandemic.
On the fast track to digital
While retail collapsed, online shopping showed phenomenal growth. Offices closed, but remote work kept organizations alive. Video conferencing allowed scattered teams to collaborate and communicate. Movie theaters shuttered, yet streaming has taken over.
The pandemic has forced global business into the digital arena. Companies need software and systems to solve the problems of transition. Startups that support the realities of reinvention have a ready-made market.
When the dust settles, businesses that incorporate digital, scale-up, and use data effectively will be tomorrow's success stories.
If you are a tech company, there's never been a better time to raise money on the stock market. The IPO market has already scored a record year, with more tech firms set to debut before 2020 ends.
Again tech companies are driving the flood of public listings, catering to the massive demand for digital tools that will make our new realities more manageable.
The concept of "no-regret" policies
The idea of no-regrets actions originally came from climate change initiatives. It merely means that the action taken has no drawbacks and often yields exceptional value. On a personal level, think about healthy eating, exercise, or meditating.
Since the pandemic's onset, businesses have had to juggle clients, suppliers, and staff's changing needs. A "no-regrets" policy means companies deal with these challenges through actions like speeding up digital transformation or establishing agile operations; no-regrets steps that will build stronger businesses post-pandemic.
The bigger picture
There's plenty of uncertainty as we head into 2021, however as we all become less concerned with another shut down and more concerned with our businesses, the stalled economic rebound will strengthen. And recovery won't be far behind.
COVID-19 has changed our reality, attitudes, and behaviors and forced a re-examination of priorities and expectations. Businesses can emerge from the pandemic stronger by making strategic changes and giving customers the outcomes they want and need.