The corona crisis is a blessing for humanity and planet. It shows us the way to the MEXIT; an exit from our mindset. An immense crisis is an excellent opportunity to never return to our comfort zone of illusionary certainties and limiting beliefs. Will you join us on our journey to Upotia?
In times of draconian corona crisis, we must question our accepted reality because the crisis transcends our beliefs boundlessly. New answers must be quickly formulated for problems far beyond our usual compass.
In business as usual, we are guilty daily of not challenging the norm. We are happy with the status quo and find peace and security in our illusionary safety and traditions. Therefore, only leaders with vision, courage and character dare to question in these rippling circumstances why things are as they are and are done as they are done. In times of serious crisis, as now with the Corona virus, there is much more “leeway” and managers in particular actively seek new input. Our government is finally succeeding in this with flying colors. Just as our society passes the current dress rehearsal – for a really big crisis due to climate change – with flying colors. Because the focus now shifts directly from welfare to well-being and from ego to eco. And only then do we start calculating.
Leading leaders such as Feike Sijbesma (DSM) and Laurens Fink (Black Rock) have recognized this for a long time and cultivate an open and questioning climate for critical thought and reflection. As a result, there is a continuous revision of beliefs, procedures and even visions in their organizations. At DSM, they have been calculating internally for years with a cost price for CO2 emissions that is many times higher than the actual price op de EEX EUA Spot van circa 18 euro (18 maart 2020). on the EEX EUA Spot of about 18 euros (March 18, 2020). And Black Rock was the first major institutional investor to announce that they are “slowly but surely pulling out of oil stocks.”
When was the last time you yourself, as a person or an organization, critically analyzed your basic principles and beliefs and put everything on the operating table?
Strategic assessments and rethinking of reality should not be reserved only for times of crisis. When was the last time you yourself, as a person or an organization, critically analyzed basic principles and beliefs and put everything on the operating table? Why are companies and very many people so poorly prepared for a deep financial crisis? For most, it is that we are not frugal enough. That we spend more than is responsible. That we buy things we already have five of. Or don’t really need. And mostly because we hope that everything will stay as it is. There are endless examples of well-known companies and inspiring leaders who intervened early after critical reflections of the imagined reality. And as a result saw their results improve dramatically. And when a crisis arose, they turned out to be much more resilient than their peers who had lived beyond their means.
A crisis like the one we are currently experiencing is not only an enormous learning experience. Above all, it is also an opportunity that we must not waste by falling back into old patterns once the crisis is over. It is an excellent time to ensure that we strengthen society and our companies and make them more resilient. For new and especially much larger crises, such as climate, loss of biodiversity, scarce raw materials and the geopolitical tensions that will result. In my new book and best seller Once Upon A Future I describe these developments, with concrete answers and solutions to old and new issues. It shows that “weak participants leave the game” when conditions deteriorate and barriers to entry for new players prove high. Companies that survive such a crisis have less competition as a result, and the parties that remain are often good competitors. Because they have the right parameters for quality, price and value creation within the limits of the planet and our humanity. These companies are always sustainable, do not see people as a resource and the KPIs are not only financial in nature but also related to the value they create, move and destroy socially, environmentally and financially (footprint).
Smart businesses, communities and people would never return to pre-crisis conditions
During the global financial crisis in 2008, many companies had to review their commercial terms for customers and markets. Companies were suddenly faced with banks changing the rules as standard credit periods and terms for countries and companies suddenly proved untenable. Extended credit periods of six months and sometimes longer, were defended for decades and considered normal and also the required minimum. Very few people dared to question the logic of this reality. After the crisis, things had changed, especially in terms of supervision, but in the end many were still surprised when it turned out in retrospect that relatively little had been impacted and changed. Smart businesses, communities and people would never return to pre-crisis levels of credit and people would never have to get into big debt and sky-high mortgages again. But where are we now in 2020? How resilient are our businesses and society now, more than a decade later after the last major crisis? It is great that the government is now taking responsibility on a large scale and in an unprecedented way. But isn’t it because that same government, like society, has learned nothing or done nothing with lessons from the past? So of course the big question is; what is going to change now, when the COVID-19 crisis is over?
There are many signs and less palatable examples of hopeful behavior
There are hopeful signs and less palatable examples of hopeful behavior. Look at the trading of “shorts,” where companies and people make money from markets that crash. They offer little hope for better times and show how we as a species go awry when economics and prosperity are more important than real progress for humanity and planet. But going against the grain is often enormously profitable in the long run. And when we sail against the current we always get to the source. Just look at our own bodies. The blood flows from the heart to our head. So if we want to get back to the source and the intention, we have to sail against the current. From head to heart, from ego to eco. And most of all from goals to intent.
Unless you enjoy a business model that seeks crisis, because making money in quiet times is significantly harder and less fun. As a former impact investor, I’ve had the opportunity to invest billions from families into real progress. Taking the world one step further. And, of course, there is nothing at all wrong with making money to create a better world, provided there is a positive balance between the value created financially, socially and environmentally for all stakeholders.
It is wise to always take the personal impact of a severe crisis very seriously and keep reflecting. Even when conditions have improved again. Redundancy is a great challenge for the individual, and fear is often directed at a future that we repeatedly perceive as uncertain. But we must not lull ourselves to sleep after a crisis. There is nothing reassuring about restoring the old and the same procedures, environment, colleagues and results. We must realize that the restored conditions are restrictive and that stepping back into our comfort zone leads to a situation where we do not make sufficient use of our unlimited potential.
An experience of a real crisis awakens the dormant spirit and energy that makes people and organizations more entrepreneurial and resilient
We hear very often from people who have been suddenly laid off or divorced that they never take a long look back at the harsh times that plagued them. Except to learn from it. It often turns out that the experience of a crisis awakens a dormant spirit and energy that makes people and organizations more entrepreneurial and resilient. I know people who call their burnout a gift, but that it took them years to unpack it. Often we need a big push or a real crisis to make substantial changes. To start consuming, because only then do we realize that windmills and artificial intelligence are not going to solve all our problems. We are the problem, by our way of thinking, acting and especially not being able to leave. And we are therefore the only solution. The current corona crisis is the ideal dress rehearsal and a rewarding and instructive exercise for our minds. It points us in the direction of a MEXIT*, an exit from our current mindset. And the realization that we need an energetic transition* much more than an energy transition.
Corona crisis is a blessing for humanity and planet
And when we do, it will turn out that the corona crisis was a blessing for humanity and our planet. It was not planned and it has cost humanity an incredible amount. But at least we didn’t waste this crisis then, provided we realize now that we need to set new, big ambitions. Big Hairy Goals must be defined. That we must dare to think big and, above all, big. And at the same time realize that we can only realize these grand ambitions in very small steps. Together, in radical dependence. Of course we will never reach Utopia, but at least we will be going in the right direction. And the journey to Utopia is great fun and of unprecedented importance. For everything and everyone.
MEXIT and energetic transition are ‘inventions’ of my good friend Thomas Rau, one of the greatest and most original thinkers of our time.
More information about my new inspirement: RESET after COVID-19.