Creating Opportunity in Tough Times – Panel Discussion

Earlier this month, in response to the Covid-19 crisis, Alex Lazarus was invited to speak on the panel at the U.S. Embassy in Brazil at a virtual session, “Creating Opportunity in Tough Times”, hosted by the Rhett Power, a Forbes columnist, an author and Business Coach of the Year.

The fellow panellists included the New York Times bestselling authors, Mark C. Thompson, voted World’s No 1 CEO Coach and author of ADMIRED: 21 Ways to Double Your Value; Now Build a Great Business; and Success Built to Last – Creating a Life that Matters, as well as Charlene Li, named by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in business, and the author of The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Businesses Transform While Others Fail.

The panellists discussed the economic opportunities in tough times through the weakening competition dynamics, cheaper capital and acquisition decisions. They also agreed that crisis could serve as a launchpad for new thinking and innovation but which requires the adoption of future-focused and a customer-centric lens.

During the session, Alex also touched upon the Lazarus & Maverick model of 3-Stage Reaction to Crisis:

Distress ⇢ Decision ⇢ Disruption

The experience path suggests that once we have processed the initial shock, the Decision stage awaits. However, a lot will depend here on how we manage the tension between fear/paralysis and curious exploration, and what we choose to focus on. Grief for the reality that came to a screeching halt? Or the opportunities that lie ahead in a less certain tomorrow?

For those seeking opportunities in tough times, here are some questions worth reflecting on:

Imagine 6 months from now. You’re successful and maybe even better off than pre-crisis. How did you create value for your customers? What did you do differently? What stayed the same? How did you adapt your product or distribution channels to meet new consumer behaviours? What new collaborative associateships and partnerships did you consider?

Final advice for a leader in tough times?

Keep calm and level-headed. Look after yourself and your people. Encourage curiosity and open discussions as creativity can come from the most unexpected places. Connect with clients, immerse yourselves in their new reality to better grasp changing consumer behaviours. Stay curious about how you can help them. 

April 2020