• David DiPerri

The New abNormal

Good-bye Handshake, Hello Ingenuity

The Coronavirus has thrust upon us a new life paradigm in the blink of an eye. Sparked by simple reports out of China that a virus is impacting a small city, it “very” quickly spread to worldwide proportions. Today, May 13, 2020, only 5 months since the early reports of the outbreak and only 3 months in the United States, the Coronavirus has flipped the world upside down.

Overnight, the global economy hit the brakes. We will not know for some period of time, perhaps months or years, what the true impact of COVID-19 will be on the world. The ripple effects on healthcare systems, fiscal policies, the global economy at large and how we will interact “together” in the second half of 2020 are all great unknowns. What is known is that we are now facing “The New abNormal”.

Unlike other major events in the recent history of the world, most of these have been “contained” within a certain border and their impacts only temporary. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami caused massive destruction and loss of life. According to Wikipedia, it was an undersea megathrust earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.1. Over ¼ million people died in the natural disaster that covered thousands of miles from Indonesia to South Africa.

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide, all on the heels of one of the most deadly conflicts in world history; World War I. Many other global calamities account for dramatic societal and world impacts. Suffice to say, the world over centuries has borne the burdens of unimaginable perils, either from natural forces or from the hazards of war.

So, what is so different from our most recent global challenge? The answer is simple. Today, the world is interconnected like never before. Modern air travel and interconnected societies, unlike ever before, are literally a so-called “stone’s throw” away from each other. In New York City alone, over 65 million visitors frequented the city from around the globe in 2019. That equates to over 1 million people per week visiting the Big Apple from all corners of the world. Even more astounding, the travel time from the farthest destination away often takes a day of travel time, at most, to get door-to-door. Thus, a virus that sparks in Asia or Africa or South America can be at America’s doorstep, with all its inherent dangers, in only a matter of hours.

A hundred years ago, during the 1918 pandemic, the technological capabilities and transportation infrastructure to expediently travel long distances in short times did not exist. Today however it does. Worldwide travel, according to Statista in 2018 accounted for 1.4 billion tourist arrivals around the globe. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, even with societies “locking down” for weeks, the spread of the virus to pandemic levels happens in days, not months or years as has been the case for other devastating disease spreads. Prior to the interconnected world of today, the word used for these dreadful diseases was more often epidemic, not pandemic. Today, in light of this new human experience, as stated recently by Dr. Anthony Fauci “You don’t make the timeline; the virus makes the timeline.” Today, in light of this new human experience, as stated recently by Dr. Anthony Fauci “You don’t make the timeline; the virus makes the timeline.”

The New abNormalhas arrived and it’s high time we get ready for the possibility or more likely, the probability of a very different life here in America and around the world.

We can expect from this global pandemic, several different culturally impacting experiences. Natural reactions from the salvo of news media over the past several months about viruses, their spread, their makeup, their unknowns, how long they live, what they live on, how they get transmitted, etc., will all play out in our daily lives. Unexpected, if not unnatural reactions will surface.

The 5 biggest changes we will likely see in the second half of 2020 will be:

  1. The Handshake will be a thing of the past

  2. Closely knit community gatherings will be far less frequent

  3. Lessons learned from our Coronavirus experience may impact the 2020-2021 flu season

  4. Families will stock up on so-called “necessities” to self-sustain

  5. The “working from home era” will officially be the preferred form of office domicile

A plethora of industries have been and will be directly and dramatically impacted by the pandemic that includes:

  • Air travel / subways / buses

  • Professional sports venues

  • Concerts / theaters

  • Places of worship

  • Schools / universities

  • Restaurants

  • Enclosed office environments

  • Gyms

This list will grow. The big question will be how these venues and others like them “re-commune” when the green light is given to go back to work, play and pray. Enter the age of the “The New abNormal”. How will the human psyche be impacted by this modern and unprecedented chapter in world history?

We at ProsperCI feel that at times of seismic change and transformation comes with it the prospect for seismic opportunity. The New abNormal hand-delivers our world a chance for renewed thinking in this fast-changing landscape. The truth is that life will be different. The extreme of ‘how different’ will reveal itself in the ensuing months and years.

Now is the time for entrepreneurs, in all business settings, to embrace this challenge and opportunity. Charles R. Swindoll’s famous quote, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” is never more prevalent than now for today’s business owners and visionaries. On the heels of this pandemic, every industry, particularly those hardest hit by the effects of COVID-19, will need the resolve to find innovative solutions to further their business livelihoods. Those companies that act by getting in front of this challenge will surge ahead as we slowly move beyond the current hold of the virus.

We utilize our 3Power ™approach toward helping business owners and leaders get their heads and hands wrapped around business challenges. It requires a warm embrace of a “can do” mindset. There will be many hurdles to overcome. Keeping your attack plan focused and contained will enable you to make the necessary advances to conquer the causal effects impacting your business.

The fundamental principle of the 3Power approach is to break the challenge or issue into 3 primary causal effects. Thereafter your laser-focus is to resolve the “upstream” causal effects that are adversely impacting your business. The net result will be a stronger, more vibrant business. Solving “causal effects” of problems is a powerful technique of Continuous Improvement ideology. It is just one of the tools used to significantly transform the results of your business.

In our case study, Overcoming The Restaurant Challenge through COVID-19, we assess the huge challenge that restaurant owners face as they tackle The New abNormal. We utilize the 3Power method to address these issues and help restaurant owners to navigate this challenging scenario.

We take one of the major categories: How to generate revenue NOW for this traditionally dine-in restaurant model. Brainstorming with the owner we embrace the 3 top solutions toward generating revenue now to help build cash flow. Our shortlist for this particular restaurant reveals:

  1. Take-out business

  2. Delivery business

  3. Online ordering capability

We then act. Nolan Bushnell once said “The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer”. Thus, we must act now. Take-out business is our first priority. What are the top 3 priorities we must tackle to enable this to happen? We resolve those issues first and only then, do we take on the next 3 issues to address. Staying within the 3Power model, we will tackle the 3 most impacting factors first and continue that approach until all the major inhibitors of progress (causal effects) have been eliminated. We simply cannot resolve everything in an instant; we must prioritize. It ensures efficiency and getting wins. Wins build momentum for the next wins.

We often use a tool called the Fishbone Diagram to generate a visual layout of our challenge. It may look something like this as we start getting thoughts down on paper.

Systematically and methodically, using data, inputs and ingenuity we begin to solve the causal effects that will help us generate revenue now. It’s fun, effective and fulfilling. The Coronavirus is not the only thing that is contagious, winning is contagious too!

Eventually, all the upstream inhibitors have been resolved and we will have successfully generated a revenue stream that did not exist in the pre-COVID-19 world. Moreover, once the business is back to normal, we will have augmented our historical revenue stream model to now include take-out as a new revenue stream. A win-win.

Months later with enhanced systems in place, this restaurant is now thriving. It has introduced significantly enhanced sanitation and air filtration systems (that it can now market to a highly sensitized patron-base). It has successfully introduced new capabilities that generate incremental take-out revenues. In the wake of the Coronavirus, this business has been transformed.

This business has also learned a valuable lesson from this experience. It has gone through an experience commonly referred to as Continuous Improvement. Life and business share a common parallel: change and facing unknowns is inevitable. Overcoming these challenges is a decision we must all make. We believe that there are steadfast methods and approaches that can significantly impact the end result.

David is the founder of ProsperCI, a business advisory company that assists business owners in their transformative desire to thrive. Visit www.prosperci.com for more information or to set up a complimentary consultation via videoconference.