04 April 2020
First and foremost, I do hope you, your dear ones and your communities are all well, staying protected and making the best of this difficult period, to say the least. Hopefully, you have the health, means and courage to also locally support others in need. Look up, they are many! Geanina and I are safe, both cocooning and staying connected in Paris (confinement is too martial a term for us to really appreciate). For the past 3 weeks, we’ve usefully transformed our business model and I've finished and published two ongoing books (see below). And over these weeks, many connections, friends and clients have asked what I think of this corona-induced phenomena. With them, I have privately shared some of the perspectives reviewed below.
WHEN an unprecedented crisis hits, we are always unprepared. Beyond disbelief, the first obvious fear reaction is panic, a run for perceived safe-heavens or a freeze. Some face the danger, fight back with whatever they have within immediate reach, attempt to put out immediate fires, often get exhausted until burn out and despair. Meanwhile idle intellectuals and ego-driven politicians monopolize media to argue on root causes, rewrite the past, spin responsibilities on scapegoats, generally make noice that stirs up collective disbelief then anger. Anger may be better than depression but blindly provokes more anger and divisive feuding.
This occupies the present space, and is not conducive to preparing a better future.
A third option is to keep our senses and elaborate a strategic or systemic perception of present trends to extrapolate positive outcomes. The benefit may be that clear perspectives now may motivate some to immediately implement their best strategies for the future. Not that fighting back the tsunami is useless: while dedicated professionals do what they can, others can focus on medium and longer-term prospection. And so I share a few personal perceptions of trends, and expand onto foreseeable futures:
Covid-19 is not introducing a new global trend. It is accelerating existing forces.
The past years have seen the world embark on a pull-back from globalization, a move toward Balkanization. Consider Brexit, building of Berlin-like border walls, immigrant and refugee rejection, a surge in trade tariffs and administrative barriers, etc. The current pandemic has just accelerated a pre-existing global protectionist trend to an exponential level within months. And we now know what an exponential curve represents. Beyond walls to protect states, covid-19 justifies airtight boundaries to protect continents, countries, provinces, cities, smaller communities and confined homes. On all levels, we are now more or less contained or walled-in. In just weeks, we have reduced airline, land and sea trafic flow to a mere trickle. Directly hit are the oil, coal, mining, and manufacturing, car, travel, airline, and other industries that lived off the flow. This may actually have good repercussions on global warming.
When you stop the flow, countries, provinces, cities and homes suddenly become aware that it is much safer never to depend on distant others again. At all levels. In fact, corona has revealed the worst, occasionally the best, in international relationships, national governance and corporate behaviors. Take countries who paid lip service to cooperations and now hijack medical equipment destined to other nations. Take greedy airline companies that multiply rates while publicly advertising their humanitarian return trips for stranded travelers and expatriates. Take leaders who choose to save economic results at the expense of protecting citizens from statistical death. We now know who all those serve, and it will not be easily forgotten.
Global and country-level governance has generally displayed total incompetency for all to mesure. Everywhere, a host of corrupt and ideological leaders have demonstrated they don’t give a hoot for the constituency they represent. From their egos, to preserve immediate comfort, to conceal incompetency with incoherent communication if not lies, they based their decisions on biased influence from their ideologically-inclined, scheming and manipulative political, career-oriented yes-men entourage.
Resulting world-wide trends
The corona experience is generally serving a strong back-to-local grassroots pull-back. Sensationalist media hysteria, cutthroat competition and mercantile opportunism revealed one cannot trust centralized systems and general others to do any more than just protect their immediate interests. As a consequence on the other end of the spectrum, local community production, services and small-network economies will most probably make a huge comeback. Indeed, when centralized leaders and governments demonstrate total incompetency, local leaders, city halls, and economic systems step up to fill the void.
We now know that we must fast transition towards local governance to ensure we can locally produce and acquire all we need to cover basic needs. staple food, medicine, healthcare services, co-protection, etc. Ultimately countries cannot depend on global and regional others. Provinces cannot count on national governments, nor cities on larger provinces, villages and smaller communities on the too-distant city hall. Already, states are managing better than federal, provinces better than national, cities better than regions, intelligent local communities, villages, networks, and families better than all. Everyone has learned this.
Hyper-local confinement for three months also reinforces introverted focus. Locally stranded individuals cannot go out, so they assess inwards. No more shopping malls, restaurants, travels, parties, night-clubs or concerts to distract from essentials.
We now have the inner space to realize what we really need, and all that was lavishly superfluous.
So expect a relative breakdown of the global, senseless, propaganda and advertisement-based consumption-oriented toy economy. Many are indeed realizing they can live within a much happier, qualitative, minimalist, personal economic model. In our souls, hearts and our very flesh, we are re-discovering that the words economy and ecology are actually intimately related. Pollution is down, fresh air is up. Global fossil fuel is down, local wind and solar is up. Fancy exotic fooding is down, grow your own is up.
As for work… blessed may be corona confinement.The pandemic has accelerated if not forced upon us a prior, very timid evolution, experimented by too-few blue-collars and self-employed service providers. Be it first for the young and agile, working online and from home for two to three months is emerging to be much more productive. Indeed, self-management is not easy at first, but it does go in the direction of personal commitment, delegation, empowerment, local reactivity, and the rest of a millennial-acquired trend to which many only paid lip-service.
We now all measure that staying away from the office eliminates wasted meeting time, political maneuvering, crowd manipulation, and a host of less effective ego behaviors. Previously confined in centralized, confined, straight-jacket-and-tie office spaces and hours, professional activity is now liberated by online, open-network intelligence. Ant it is proving to be much more time-effective and results-oriented than outdated, industrial-revolution models of office-building, blue-collar factories. That even applies to sugar-coated, so-called modern, open-pace, bovine mass-production variations.
It can be expected that intelligent companies and government services realize they are wasting millions to rent or own square miles of fancy corporate ego-displaying, city-center, office buildings. How indeed are these necessary in our current home-office context?
- More usefully, these millions could be spent to consolidate interactive flow rather than high-rise concrete buildings remminescent of stone-age, phallic megaliths.
- Furthermore, if connected employees can better work from home, why should they live in big cities?
Consequently worldwide, when glutted cities lose their centralized attractiveness, one could expect plunging prime-location, city-center property value. One can foresee an equivalent, more evenly distributed surge in eco-friendly, hassle-free country homes, personal and professional services. Of course, in order to accompany this probable future build-up in all the above local economical needs, businesses will have to consider building or rebuilding more distributed local-service networks.
Down the road, there is another equivalent system pandemic we could consider:
When a world-wide online virus hits the global web, do we have the needed national, provincial, city community and personal containment walls? Indeed, in our current situation and totalitarian contexts aside, the web is today the only remaining, somewhat operational global, flowing system still supporting networking capacities for prophylactic personal and business relationships. Are these local enough to survive, just in case? Are we ready for online confinement too? Can we wall-off national data banks, city servers, local network providers? We already know who we can trust and who has proven to be unworthy. That survival question may soon be on our next agenda.
And if as a systemic coach, entrepreneur or leader, you want to sharpen your awareness AND SKILLS in order to better coach yourself, your business, community and client networks, consider Metasysteme-Coaching's next online corona-friendly Systemic Coaching Fundamentals. Don't wait to register for this very practical, committing, life-transforming experience. It starts APRIL 21-22 to finish this July. And for those who have already experienced ou powerfully radically innovating approach, we please pass this on to selected interational change agents who can benefit from our perpectives and results. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE !!
The above-mentioned, very intense Systemic Coach and Leader training program covers landmark developments in professional coach constellation work for and within professional environments. Some of our theory and practice is highlighted in my latest English book, now available on KINDLE and an earlier "Masterful Systemic Coaching" paperback through AMAZON.
Thank you and hope to see you in a near future, hopefully more conducive to wine and cheese on a sidewalk café!
Geanina and Alain