Strategy and Execution can Win this Virus War
Covid-19 will impact us emotionally much more than 9-11, as all of us are under attack. It could be economically more devasting than the 2008 recession because of the number of people who live paycheck to paycheck and are no longer getting a check, and for our consumer-driven economy starved of consumers.
The only way we will mitigate damages is by executing a strategy to reduce the impact.
Battling this virus is no different than when you are fighting for market share, a share of mind, or contesting for territory. It requires a goal, a strategy, a unified and coordinated effort, and superb execution.
When I am advising leaders, the advice is to start with your desired outcome. Visualize and animate it in an extraordinary manner where it becomes magnetic, where it attracts the people who matter most to you – employees, customers, investors, and influencers.
Next, do an honest audit of your current situation to determine your gap, the distance you need to travel to realize your objective. You might need to recalibrate expectations if current and desired are too far apart.
Evaluate the competitors who want you to fail and the collaborators or enablers that can help you get to where you need to go.
And then design your strategy and tactics, and create a mindset and capability to pivot.
With Covid-19, the desired outcome is to save lives, keep healthcare functioning, and protect livelihood in the short term, while preserving burning embers so we can ignite the economy afterward.
An audit of our current situation is complicated as all elements of the Private, Public and Not for Profit Society, hadn’t factored in or modeled how to respond or react to a pandemic. We could, however, learn from the best and worst practices of other countries.
Competition. We are our own worst enemy is the best way to describe our adversaries. Our President fuelled uncertainty and inertia, with his denial, fake news, inconsistent messaging, and hijacking bandwidth and spewing content that should have been the exclusive domain of health authorities.
The only countering are the pockets of strong political leadership in different regions, front line healthcare who started immediately to build trenches, highly collaborative hubs working on finding a vaccine, and technology that enables us to share best practices.
The USA had an advantage in developing a plan. We could study the best and worst practices in other countries. We could see how important it is to move quickly and decisively. The strategy is simple. Flatten the curve through social isolation and distancing. Slow down the cases requiring care by limiting the spread of the virus.
For livelihood, I give the USA a B. The Stimulus program is essential and leaving no citizen behind delivers a shot of confidence we desperately need to hear. However, it must only target those in need—food, shelter, essential services, and healthcare.
In terms of flattening the curve, through social isolation and distancing, I give the USA a failing grade. People are still on beaches, out at bars, in offices, and denial, or saying it couldn’t happen, or if it does, it won’t impact me.
If this continues, weeks will become months, and many embers in the economy extinguished.
Our only hope is that America starts attacking this virus as a World War, and one that can only be won by proper behavior, not bullets. A coordinated effort where the Federal and State Leaders abandon partisan lines and stand together with our bankers, health care, and essential services.
And for all of us fighting this virus. We are not shipping you off as a young adult, to a strange land, armed to the teeth. We are telling all of you to isolate and to distance so we can win this war.