These are turbulent times. On behalf of the Board of ICMCI, I am writing to wish you well as you and your members deal with the uncertainty of the global spread of COVID-19. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. This step is rarely taken, and never has a corona virus been the cause of a pandemic.
For your reference, this is a link to the opening remarks of the Director General of the UN at the press conference announcing this declaration. They are a simple and helpful source of good information.
The major take-away for me from these remarks, and from all of the reading I have been doing, is that there is little doubt that a significant part, maybe even a majority of the earth’s population will be infected. This is the nature of a pandemic. The work of the public health officials and our governments is to delay and control the onset so health facilities are not overwhelmed. The concept, referred to in many publications, is known as “flattening the curve”. Here is a graph I have seen around the internet in several places.
Below is an open forum discussion of this concept with an animation.
We must be supportive of our officials who take steps to contain the spread of the disease. These inconveniencies will have a major positive impact on the communities in which they are implemented.
My second take-away is that there is no longer any question whether our economies will be disrupted. Certainly, the impact will vary in degree and in timing, but disruption is here. As management consultants, we must take it upon ourselves to collaborate with our colleagues and help our clients in the best way we can.
Proven strategies are non-existent, but we can be heartened by the peaking of the outbreak in China and South Korea. We know there will be an end. So, let us think of those 30, 60 and 90 day strategies we and our clients need to have in place to survive the short-term, so that we are ready for the recovery.
The economic impact is also unknown. Will the global economy revive when the worst of the pandemic is behind us? We need to be ready for the possibility that the economic recovery will lag, or that, even worse, a global recession will be triggered.
And in the background of all this, we cannot forget Industry 4.0, the increasing digitization of services and the automation of work. As management consultants, we need to be ahead of this curve for our own provision of services. At the same time, we must be able to support our clients in doing the same.
The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of virtual meetings. I believe it will hasten the acceptance in the marketplace of doing work virtually instead of face-to-face. Let us be leaders in this as well, both in our collaboration as colleagues and in the work we do with our clients.
As management consultants we have the honor and privilege of being trusted advisors. Let us be sure we are informed on these matters. At ICMCI we will continue to work on your behalf to support you in your success.