Last week Bill Gates offered his annual list of the top 5 books to read, “5 good books for a lousy year.” I think most of us can agree that 2020 has not been the greatest year of our lives. A year that has been a defining one for many – and largely because of the coronavirus pandemic. As I write this, the virus continues to disrupt lives everywhere but it is encouraging to note that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In the spirit of looking at what’s positive and what we can use in the year ahead to retake our lives so consumed by this pandemic, let’s take a look at what we’ve found out this year. Not having as profound a view on life and the world as Mr. Gates, I’ll stick to something closer to home.
Amidst the blare of the US elections many of us probably didn’t notice the opening of Berlin’s new airport on 31-Oct. With its opening delayed by a good 9 years and budget overshot by $4 billion, the capital city’s airport stands out as an exception in a country reputed for engineering & planning excellence.
Who is the highest earning sports person of all time? If you said Jordan or Woods or Schumacher… let me repeat, I said “all time.” It turns out that some assessments peg the winnings of Gaius Appuleius Diocles, a Roman chariot racer who lived about 1900 years back, at today’s $15 billion! In comparison, Michael Jordan’s career earnings is a measly $1.9 billion.
In the weeks following the onset of the COVID shutdowns, most organizations were in crisis-response mode; but as things return to a normal (or semi-normal) state, business leaders should pause, take some time to assess the efficacy of their actions, and internalize the lessons learned.
On his popular TV show “The Profit,” entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis repeats this mantra frequently: successful businesses are built on the three P’s; people, product, and process. The concept has its origins in lean manufacturing, but it has since taken hold across a broader spectrum of industries.
Disruption is nothing new; it’s just happening a lot faster and with greater impact than ever before. The good news, though, is that it’s not only possible to survive under such circumstances; great companies can even succeed and prosper in the midst of massive disruption.