The ongoing pandemic is more than just a gigantic health crisis. The global economic order, for the first time in several decades, is on the path to an imminent restructuring.
There are several questions that leaders around the world are grappling with, like how long this will last, and what will the new ‘normal’ look like. In this war-like situation, they need to act across five stages for leading their industries from crisis and into the new normal: Resolve, Resilience, Return, Reimagination, and Reform. 

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The path to the next normal

mckinsey.com

The measures to stop the spread of the virus are well-known by now: staying home in lockdown, working from home as a default option, schools switching from physical classrooms to e-learning models.

Not every country has been able to make these choices fast, due to a combination of hesitation, inaction, and paralysis. Before any decision is made, the first thing to do is determine what needs to be done and at what pace and scale.

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As the current health crisis steamrolls into an economic crisis unparalleled for the last 100 years, the decline in economic activity is already at par with the great depression.

This crisis of global proportions requires resilience, both for near-term issues like liquidity and cash flow, as well as long-term issues like uncertainty, personal financial stress and recovering from multiple challenges that were already present and are now further complicated due to the pandemic.

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Returning to operative environments is extremely challenging, with reactivation of disrupted supply chains at multiple points and widespread disruption overall.

Leaders should reassess their entire business logistics and supply chain, planning for contingent actions. There is also an added threat of the resurfacing of the virus during winter, even if it subsides in the coming months, which can lead to a renewed crisis if we do not have a vaccine or any effective treatment in place by then.

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As we can see most of our interactions, learnings and commercial transactions moving into online and virtual models, many other aspects of our daily lives will have to be reimagined and the leaders who have better insight and foresight will succeed. Many industries will have their existing business models completely disrupted, revealing vulnerabilities and new opportunities.

Luxurious but unessential items may have to change their business models or shut shop.

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This ongoing global challenge will help identify existing faultlines and widespread practices that are toxic and are degenerating the environment but were neglected in the past due to the absence of a ‘black-swan’ event like the pandemic. 

  • Certain sectors which were neglected earlier, like better healthcare in third-world (or even developed) countries, will now be in focus. 
  • Economists and financial managers will need to work towards strengthening the system to withstand global shocks.
  • Education systems will need to reform their existing practices and modernize the classroom.

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