Who would have thought there would ever be convergence between, work, home and play? A scant 18 months ago if you were on a Skype meeting (remember when Skype was the dominant player in this arena?) and your child came into the room and was visible on camera, or if your cat decided to make itself comfortable on your lap, this would have been considered the height of unprofessionalism. The crisis of uncertainty, and unprecedented levels of anxiety has forced upon us to not only look at new ways of fighting to stay alive, but also new ways of working, of engaging and trading.
There has never been a faster uptake of technology globally. The prevailing narrative about Africa being left in the 2nd or 3rd Industrial Revolution no longer holds true. COVID19 and the new way of engaging has leapfrogged Africa into the 4th Industrial Revolution. The uptake of technology has never been swifter. The delivery of education, trade, entertainment, hospitality and a whole host of other industries has shifted significantly since the advent of COVID19. Where crisis can be paralyzing, it has now introduced new opportunities for engagement.
The uptake in technological solutions has forced upon individuals and leaders to re-think and find simpler and nimbler ways of communicating and transacting. This new way is not without leaders having to make trade-offs along the way. There have been unprecedented changes happening in organizations and forcing them to rethink their hiring policies, whether or not to keep office space, what new remuneration structures will look like, what diversity means in the workplace and new ways of measuring output. Innovation has been guaranteed. The ‘uberization’ of shopping, learning and accessing health care has become the norm. It is expected that over 80% of jobs in the next 10 years are in professions that are yet to be defined. I wager that most of these jobs will employ people under the age of thirty and most of them will come from the African continent. The COVID19 crisis has produced a population of curious people who are connected to the world. Borders have become only physical spaces that keep people from physically going into countries. Meetings are set up by people in different continents, in real time. All these changes require a learning mindset, risk appetite and a clear vision for a post COVID future.
With all these rapid changes happening around us, the need for clear communication and leadership remains paramount. Shareholders, customers, policymakers, employees, communities and the general public, require serious attention as all these shifts are happening. Is your organization ready? Don’t get left behind.
Lerato Molebatsi – Independent Director and Public Affairs Practitioner