Now Is The Time
Updated: Feb 19
“So, the world will not be the same after this?
A: Indeed, I believe it will not.
Q: Why? It’s not our first economic crisis. Look at 2008, 2000 and several others before.
A: Sure. But what was lost then were jobs and dollars.
Q: Do you mean jobs and dollars don’t matter?
A: They do. But this time round, what we are losing are human lives.
A: So, vanished dollars and jobs will come as consequences of the sorrow. Not as causes.
Q: Why does this matter?
A: Because the order of appearance sets a different perspective.
Q: I don’t get you.
A: Take it at the feelings’ level.
A: When Lehman Brothers crashes and the entire financial system implodes and the car industry sends thousands of people out of their homes, the dominating feelings are anger, resentment and despair, aren’t they?
Q: Ok. And?
A: When a viral sickness takes the lives of our loved ones prematurely, the dominating feeling is sadness. No one is to be blamed really. Shall we blame a bat or a pangolin, or even a virus?
Q: True. But what’s the point?
A: The point is your question: why will the aftermath be different this time round?
Q: And you’re saying feelings are enough to explain the difference?
A: Feelings, and body too.
Q: Oh no, the body now. Seriously?
A: Do you think people locked down in their homes for weeks don’t sense the experience in their bodies? And would you say that ‘social’ distancing is social or that it is physical?
Q: So what?
A: So, what is happening right now will be engraved in our sensory and in our emotional memories.
Q: Hum, I think I am beginning to understand what you’re trying to say. But still, we are talking about the political and social organization of the world, here.
A: Indeed, and that is the point. Sensory and emotional memories are way more powerful and long-lasting than political opinions or even social concern.
Q: So, politicians and civil servants of all kinds will have to deal with people at deeper levels. Is this what you mean?
A: That’s right.
Q: They are not equipped for that.
A: People will teach them. Creativity will explode and technology will enable practicalities which were unimaginable before. Politicians will adapt.
A: Or exciting.
A: The same applies to business corporations, by the way.
Q: What do you mean?
A: Look at what is happening right now: the world is going online, and people are working from home.
Q: I know that for a fact, thank you! I have been sitting at my kitchen’s dining table for days now! Why would this reminder be any helpful??
A: Do you think people will go back to work as if the ‘kitchen experience’ had not occurred? Do you think they will tolerate to work for non-sense corporations as they did before? Do you think they will let arrogant bosses and dehumanized processes govern the majority of their lives after dealing with their spouse, their children or themselves all day long for weeks?
Q: People will still need to make a living, though.
A: That’s absolutely true. But they will have learned at least two things in the interim.
Q: And these are?
A: First, they will have had a chance to measure the moral cost of making such living. And second, they will have reassessed how much, or how little, they need in order to live happily.
Q: ‘Happily,’ huh? You’re not afraid of words…
A: Yes, happily as in, singing on balconies with neighbors; seeing the sky blue again; watching flowers bloom in the spring; making fun of themselves; being imaginative; feeling for others; caring about a brighter future.
Q: OK, OK… So, you’re saying business corporations will have to adapt too?
A: From within.
Q: Oh, come on! Will you please spare me the maieutic?
Q: Why not?
A: Because the process of uncovering is creative in itself. There is no single answer to the question: what do companies need to do now? Now is the time to let questions arise.
Q: I knew ‘lead by example’. I did not know about ‘leading through questions’!
A: Haha! You’ve just created it! This is spot on: this period of lockdown provides an extraordinary opportunity to explore and to unlock new possibilities.
Q: 'The world will not be the same after this, and now is the time to unlock new possibilities’. I like that. But how do we do this? Where are the KPIs?”
[Initially posted on March 23, 2020]
Interested in continuing the conversation?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org