March 11, 2021: A Sad Day!

Today, we remember the day when we sent all our students in online learning. It was exactly one year ago. It was in January 2020 that we heard about a virus out of Wuhan in China but did not imagine the impact it would have on the world. We told our students they would be expected to come back to classroom as of 26th April 2020…how naïve were we?

The good news is that we converted all our students in online learning, in just 3 days, mainly thanks to having had the experience with offering online MBA since many years back. Then, we learned that the rest of the world also went in a lockdown. Now, one year later, we are still in the same situation. The leaders of the World Health Organization have recently declared that by the beginning of 2022, the pandemic outbreak will be over, which will bring joy to the world. So, what should you have learned from all these experiences:

  • Read history books. History repeats itself! If we would have known better about what impact the Spanish Flu had on the world, or having known more about SARS, we would have had a better scenario from day 1.

  • As I wrote in one of my articles long time back, test-track and trace! This should have happened from day 1 and once the outbreak started to happen.

  • From a company perspective, learn that every generation will face a cash crisis. Only 30 days after the lockdown happened, the most shocking thing was to hear entrepreneurs say: we are going bankrupt! As a corporate leader, make sure your organization is financially sustainable for at least six months, if not a year! Make a good crisis management plan that you update regularly.

  • Wear masks, even if you are vaccinated! Learn to embrace the virus! That way, we buy our freedom back.

  • Do not participate in vaccination nationalism. Show solidarity with other nations, who do not have the financial means to pay US$ 10 for a JAC. If the entire world has not reached a level of 70-80% heard immunity, it will not help if you have received your personal shot or not.

  • Respect the people who have died and reward the health workers and the employees at the supermarket. They are and were there every single day for us!

  • Invest in education. Upskill and reskill, in a formal or informal learning environment.

  • On average, we have gained 3 kg. during this year, which will be difficult to get rid of. Health should be your primary focus, so you know what to do.

  • Prepare yourself for “les années folles”, where economic prosperity will return, and we will exaggerate with human contacts and parties. The party starts in January 2022…

  • Remember the nice stories: A 106-year-old pianist celebrates the release of her sixth album, or the story of a 75-year-old tea shop owner who is overwhelmed with the success of her online tea shop.

  • Invest in yourself. Health is now an absolute component of your professional career and your business model.

  • And finally…continue to think positive, while testing negative.

Every crisis carries new opportunities. Grasp your chance! And remember, we are living in the pandemic era, so learn and reflect. Be prepared for the next one, which with a high probability is coming according to leading scientists, or learn to live 15 days without electricity, since there was a cyberattack on your utility’s provider.

Happy risk-assessment reflections!
Bert Wolfs, Ph.D.

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