COVID has caused arguably the biggest disruption to society since World War II. In a matter of weeks, it forced massive changes to how organizations function, changes that might otherwise take years, and, somehow, it changed everyone’s personal preferences. Once COVID is eased, there will be no going back. Our world has changed forever and we need to learn the lesson that the pandemic has taught us.

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COVID has been a rollercoaster, both practically and emotionally, full of peaks and troughs. When COVID first hit, initial shock, disbelief and denial were met with a heroic response from essential workers. But as time went on, we recognized it was going to be a marathon, not a sprint. The vision of the vaccine gave us a positive boost, but then the realization that we wouldn’t see any effect until early 2021 on drenched spirits. This ultimately put us in the vaccine versus variant race that we are still fighting, with varying levels of success.

Given these experiences, with the loss of business revenue, the shift to work from home, lockdowns, illness and tragedy, what positive lessons can we learn from the myriad negatives? What are the factors that enabled some organizations to thrive, and which of these are indicators of how organizations and their leaders are likely to succeed in the future?


As an ex-military officer, when COVID first began to affect our world, I predicted that a key factor in organizational success (or failure) would be its ability to change and the ability of its leaders to adapt. . Because of the way military leaders are reliant on to operate in high-pressure, dynamic environments, as COVID unfolded, leaders needed to adopt certain characteristics for their businesses to survive in the moment.

Some of these qualities and perspectives include things like developing a common objective or a bigger picture, if they don’t already have one, and communicating this clearly to their teams. They needed truly empowered people and inspiring leaders to lead the way. They should start thinking more of “we, not me” and encourage them to work together in different places with clear responsibilities. Leaders needed to look for any opportunities to reap the benefits. This involved rapid decision-making as conditions changed rapidly in the early days of the pandemic.

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But it is easy for me to say that the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst was put through a lengthy evaluation and development program – I was trained to do so. For the typical corporate executive, being able to drive that change to any significant degree is an achievement in itself, which not everyone was able and/or prepared to do. This is reflected in a comment I recently heard from a mid-level manager who simply said, “COVID showed us who the real leaders were and who were just managing, and seniority was not a factor in that.” Was.”

But it was not just about COVID. From my experience and almost every case study I’ve seen, what successful leaders and organizations did before COVID were simple day-to-day tasks. These tasks are not sector-specific – they work everywhere – and they provided success before COVID, provided survival during COVID and will provide success after COVID.

Thus COVID was the last test. If your organization and leaders were doing these tasks before the impact of COVID, and they could have geared up to bridge the gap between where they were and where COVID demanded them to survive, you passed .

Based on the actions that help businesses survive, what lies ahead for organizations to achieve post-COVID success?

1. A Powerful, Focused Purpose: everyone from top to bottom Know why they do what they do, and believe him.

2. Keep It Sleek and Simple: Everything should be as simple as possible. Specifically, communication and decision making, allowing decision making at a minimum practical level.

3. Motivated and empowered people working in partnership: People should know what needs to be done and they should be allowed to go ahead with it, even across silos.

4. Look for Opportunities: Constantly looking for ways to do things better. Whatever chance you get, be more innovative and enterprising.

5. Change Champion: everyone should accept the change, change and agility as part of their day-to-day thinking and action, pave the way for future success.

So, perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from COVID was to really reaffirm what it takes to survive during COVID, what was successful before COVID, and with the new world of work and the increasing demands of COVID-19, The latter will be even more important. investors, employees and customers.

Who can get it done? At a team level, each individual leader can, and this requires a more traditional military focus: leading by example. This is a timeless lesson that should never be forgotten if a leader is to be successful.