HOW THE BLACK SWAN OF 2020 HAS IMPACTED OUR LIVES

The Black Swan theory is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise and has a major disruptive effect. The term is based on an ancient saying that presumed black swans did not exist – a saying that was reinterpreted to teach a different lesson after black swans were discovered in the wild in Australia. Since then, different economic gurus, industry leaders, and business people tried to predict and identify these potential disruptive events.

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Those who read the famous book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, “The Black Swan”, may remember how Taleb, a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, and former option trader and risk analyst, focuses on the extreme impact of rare and unpredictable events — and the human tendency to find simplistic explanations for these events, retrospectively.

Coronavirus is the Black Swan of 2020.

In the past few months, all of us have been, and still are, deeply impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. We have been locked down and living under a lot of stress and emotional instability.

While conditions will hopefully improve soon, there is a need to stem the contagion and be prepared for the scenarios that will come along, until a vaccine is found.

Things have changed and are changing. For everyone, for every industry. A new normal is coming. This is the mantra that the Covid impact has been forcing us to repeat.

Professionally, we need to ensure the health of our businesses, while dealing with the potential consequences of the virus spreading effects.

As it happens with all crisis, many companies are, and will be, facing challenges, such as: a decline in business activity, supply chain disruptions, travel constraints and meetings cancelation. it will take some time for the global economy to recover and for us to regain confidence that everything is back to normal, the new or next normal.

Governments and institutions all over the world have adopted, and are adopting the necessary measures to ease the pains and economic consequences for businesses. However, proper and quick decisions will need to be made by company leaders and managers, who should also prepare to adjust policies to changing circumstances. In times of recession, revenues and cash flows have to be carefully monitored and managed.

A lack of optimism can prevent someone from taking action, and/or, making the right decision. We have to try to be realistic and act firmly, instead, as the situation evolves, ready to take advantage of any opportunities that always arise in uncertain times. To quote Seth Godin: “… And just as expectations are being shifted, new opportunities will arise. They always do. So, what’s next? A commitment to learning and to possibility”.

Sooner than later, quality will replace quantity, even in our experiences. I think this is a time when we need to take more care of ourselves, and in so doing, we can help others.

The road to recovery will take much of our physical, mental and financial strengths, but we will weather the storm. And let me take leave with some amazing words I read recently: “I think when the dust settles, we will realize how very little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connections”.

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