What next? What now?

Three good bets with a little bit of wonkiness thrown in.

Wordcount: 622 Time to read: 3 minutes

This July 2020 issue of my newsletter has proven to be unusually difficult to write. Perhaps it’s the moment in time, perhaps the ubiquity of change, perhaps one of other innumerable distractions. I suspect it’s linked to my unfamiliar inability to comprehend what the future holds.

First, some fightin’ words.

Please wear a mask when you’re around others.

For those who see masking up as a loss of freedom, think of it as another tenet civil society requires to function smoothly. We stop at stop signs and red lights, don’t we?

Think of it as a mission: Doing what you can to keep your customers healthy so they can do business with you. Refusing because you don’t interact with your customers is a lousy excuse. The people you interact with are SOMEBODY’S customer.

And for those who choose to politicize COVID-19 as a Left-Wing hoax or communist plot, the soaring number of infections and deaths around the world illustrate the virus is not a hoax.

Accurately anticipating what happens next depends on unbiased understanding of what’s happening now. Some segments of the economy are doing quite well, and the Fed continues to pump in trillions of dollars. The downside is our exploding deficit.

Many, if not most, of the impacts of today’s reality will occur too far into the future to have much meaningful or actionable clarity today.

My reality is that today’s problems have been festering for about thirty years now. The disruptions caused by Covid-19 are merely the by-products of long-standing issues of a dysfunctional federal government power-driven by selfish priorities.

Which doesn’t answer a popular American refrain.

What now?

       What next?

My professional consulting activities focus on B2B organizations. I avoid most everything retail. Along with me, almost every B2B colleague is as busy or busier now than we’ve ever been. The retail industries are being eviscerated and their employees discarded.

While there’s not much retail insight I offer, the horoscope for B2B is much easier for me to read.

GOOD BETS

  1. Rigidly adhering to basic principles and values will become more important while failing to do so will become more destructive.

With so much change, a sense of uncertainty is bound to spread. Locate and highlight routine and process. They are the building blocks of confidence. When grounded in purpose, setting expectations and delivering value creates trust and calm.

  • Information technology will become a common revenue line item in financial statements.

Information technology has been viewed as an expense since it became a necessary evil for maintaining competitiveness. Senior management has struggled to fully understand or integrate information technology into strategic planning, growth activities, or creating new revenue opportunities. The ability to adapt and flex to the increasing pace of changing customer wants and environmental constraints will force management to view and integrate information technology in more productive, profitable use.

  • Stop asking what’s next and focus on how to move your organization forward regardless of any new normal.

Your purpose should not have been impacted by C-19. If it has, you haven’t found your true purpose. Most of the opportunities the current disruption is creating are hiding behind closed doors. Many doors hide unrecognized, unharvested opportunities you’ll never find unless you go looking.

There’s no doubt change also brings pain, suffering, trauma. That’s why people don’t usually go looking for it. There’s also no doubt good things always come out of change.

A bit of good advice comes from Grey Owl, a native American Indian.

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you; or stand as tall as you can, show it your teeth and say: ‘Dish it up, baby, and don’t be stingy with the jalapenos’.”



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