An article in World Economic Forum states that a mere 7% of the US population worked from home before COVID-19 broke around the world. Not surprising though, if you had asked for an arrangement to work from home from your employer earlier, the answer mostly would have been – Nah! It doesn’t work (of course with a shudder). Just a month ago, if someone had cautioned an automobile company of its nil sale for next month, the response (definitely!) would have been – Are you kidding me? It will never happen, Pal. My friends stranded alone in few cities seldom thought home management skills to be of equal significance to their career-based skills. Clearly, times have shown that this ideology couldn’t be more incorrect with statistical predictions of organizations gradually keeping more than 50% of employees as permanent work-from-home staff, auto sector (unfortunately) having a Nil sale for April month and my grounded buddies diligently learning the nuances of home management every day. Interestingly, you can find a lot of similar situations in your own life.
What is the one thing common in all the above scenarios? Resistance to change.
As rightly pointed out by Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary science, Dr. Marc Bekoff, “Often, the greater our ignorance about something, the greater our resistance to change”. He couldn’t have been more precise and realistic. The COVID-19 era has proven to be a dead-end for organizations (or humans) who got accustomed to the maintenance of old systems. Ideally, they have only 2 options – Change or Perish. Personally, I find this juncture the right time to introduce an interesting piece on the Six stages of Systemic Changes.
Scientifically speaking, change usually happens with maximum intensity when people either are highly geared up for a cause or they find no other option than to adopt it. Currently, every homo sapiens is on the second track (did you realize this?). Listing out the six stages of systemic changes below, I am very sure that you would be able to assess in which stage we are in.1. Maintenance of the old system
2. Awareness (We are currently here…)
3. Exploration (That’s where we need to go!)
5. The Emergence of new infrastructure
6. The Predominance of a new system
You read it right! These times are making us realize what we need to change. We are now aware that we need to take the next big step Experiment and Explore to bring a change.
History is replete with such examples – Take for instance, the seeds of FedEx, a cargo airline, germinated due to lack of express delivery of essential items such as medicines during the Spanish flu, where time is the money. For that matter Apple iPod founder, Steve Jobs, was no less of an opportunist who capitalized on the prospect of eliminating people’s hardships on expensive entertainment spending during the 2002 recession, and hence the iPod was born.
The crux is to experiment as much as one wants in a period when people are more susceptible to change.
I repeat – a period when people are more susceptible to change. And mind you, this doesn’t happen every time. Moreover, experimentation and exploration have got no boundaries. Any person who wants things to work differently can tap into the potential of the current times. The growth mindset will ensure the rest.
To summarize, human beings need a push every time to be able to change themselves or make a dent in the established system. That push is either internal or external. While great minds always look for an opportunity to raise human potential further, it is the right time which becomes a crucial deciding factor to its success. COVID-19 times are one of such times. Why not engage in experiments and explorations to create something worthwhile (or even to fail!) and make a change?