Disruptive change is the new norm, here are three examples.
This is part two of this three-part article series quantifying a Coronavirus Shock Wave. Catch up with Part one: The Coronavirus Shock Wave
Disruptive change is the new norm. Change is happening faster and on a larger scale than we can intuitively relate to. It is challenging our social norms, uniting us in finding a common response, and dividing us on questions such as whether church attendance or public voting are essential activities.
Here are three examples of how the Coronavirus Shock Wave will impact you, our economy and America over the next 18 months:
1. No Football Is a Metaphor and Not a New Social Norm
America loves football. We desperately want it to start this fall. It absolutely should not! Football games attended by tens of thousands packed into a huge stadium is the viral equivalent of dropping a firebomb in a dry forest. It will explosively reignite exponential infection growth.
Social distancing must remain the current norm until we have a national inoculation against the Coronavirus. Best estimates are that a vaccine is about 18 months away. Until then, working from home offices should be the norm. Curtailed retail store shopping should be the norm. Restaurant take-out should be the norm. Netflix rather than football should be the norm.
The good news is that after national inoculation there will be a social and economic boom. Football and other sports will return and stadiums will be packed with enthusiastic fans. Retail stores will return to normal operations, but, sadly, their numbers will surely be fewer. Local restaurants will reopen to diners, but many will be new.
2. This V-shaped social and economic recovery is all predicated on two key steps:
- America succeeds at shifting exponential infection growth to linear growth through social distancing best practices.
- An effective vaccine is nationally adopted by summer 2021.
We the People Will Be the Norm
Have no doubts, the Coronavirus is an attack on America’s freedoms and our individual rights. America prides itself on individualism. We celebrate the hero, pioneer and entrepreneur. Personal liberty is the very foundation of America’s success.
Flattening the infection curve is a collective action. Individualism is its greatest threat. Until there is a vaccine, universal collective compliance is our singular defense. Self-isolating best practices are now as much a part of America’s defense as our missiles and cannons.
The ramifications will be profound. Unless the curve is flattened, and stays flattened, there will be growing emotional response to those who are not implementing prescribed isolating best practices. The challenge will be whether this brings us together or further splits us apart.
If individual compliance fails, at some point the public will demand the policing of individuals, businesses, and churches that do not conform. We are beginning to see this occur. It will surely impact and reshape the American social and political fabric.
Businesses will confront a similar question on how far they should go in policing health. They will be under increasing pressure to monitor and discipline work associates who do not follow social distancing best practices. In anticipation of such a challenge, a proactive business step is to publish social distancing best practices metrics and compliance expectations.
Optimistically, the potential conflict between individualism and a common infectious enemy will unite America like it did during WWII and 9/11. Out of this health crisis can emerge a nation with a renewed sense collective purpose.
3. Digital Disruption Growth
America entered the Coronavirus crisis divided between those who are thriving in the digital Information Age and those facing a diminished future because their economics are anchored in the Industrial Age. The current crisis in now accelerating this divide.
Zoom has become the poster child in the mass adoption of digital group work practices. App-enabled home delivery is accelerating into a common consumer behavior. The traditional auto industry, organized around dealer showrooms experiences, is suffering a 30-40% sales decline. Tesla, with online shopping and vehicle delivery to the customer’s location, is reporting sales growth.
The economic shockwave from the Coronavirus is also a disruptive reduction in Industrial Age business models and jobs. Hundreds of thousands of retails jobs in stores like Macy’s and JC Penney will be lost. So will restaurant service jobs. So will auto and airline factory jobs. Why? Because these are Industrial Age jobs.
Job growth is occurring in the digital economy. Amazon is hiring tens of thousands of new work associates. During this crisis, the digital work force continues to create economic growth working from remote locations.
A lasting legacy of the Coronavirus Shock Wave will be an American economy that has taken a quantum leap into the Information Age and further away from the Industrial Age. That will be the foundation for accelerated American business competitiveness. It will be a foundation for increased consumer adoption of smart, digital, connected, and clean technologies that cost less and deliver more.
The final article in this three-part series focuses on Coronavirus Shock Wave impacts on green business best practices.