Leaders are those who see a crisis coming, prepare and thrive from it

Wednesday May 20 2020

Aircraft of various airlines are pictured at

Aircraft of various airlines are pictured at the commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul - MRO, Tarmac Aerosave Aragon, located at the Teruel Airport, in Teruel, on May 18, 2020, during the national lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 disease. PHOTO | JOSE JORDAN | STR | AFP 

More by this Author

How do we get opportunity from adversity? To answer this, we must first understand what makes up an opportunity. 

For one, opportunity always sends signals. Former US President George W Bush sounded the alarm about the imminent threat of a pandemic and President Barack Obama, building on this, set up an office in the White House to ensure a readiness and quick response when it did happen.

Bill Gates at a Ted talk that went viral, also reiterated the same. So let no one say that they were not warned.

Another opportunity that has been giving advance warnings for years has been the effects of climate change. Gladys, a former colleague, saw the writing on the wall concerning climate issues and the environment and launched a consulting firm to help organisations address these issues. Today she is helping clientele from all over the world to prepare.

A crisis is the result of changes that were not managed and warnings that were not adhered to.

Opportunities are time sensitive. Real winners are those who see it coming and prepare for it. Air travel was dominated by a firm called the Douglas company and they made a name for themselves building the DC series of aircraft.


After the second world war, they stepped up production of the DC 7, which was the star of that era. It was a propeller powered plane and there were many orders.

Boeing on the other hand focused on building the jet engined Boeing 707 on speculation and without any confirmed orders. The rest as they say is history. The Douglas company became a part of Boeing.

Opportunities have no owners. They are free for all who will seize them. Every opportunity will respond to those who are properly equipped to grab them.

We are facing a world where virtually everyone has been affected. Many businesses have already closed and many industries have been brought to their knees. This is a time like no other in history.

However, through it all, what is the possibility of some silver linings? What will characterise those who come out stronger? We need to look at this era like we would wartime because the biggest winners in a post-war world are always the builders.

Every war brings destruction and as such rebuilding becomes the biggest activity of a post-war era.

Similarly, in the aftermath of this war with the coronavirus, those who engage in rebuilding will be at the top. But then, what are we rebuilding? First, a lot of hope has been dashed and as such merchants of hope will thrive during and after the pandemic. People need to know that they can start again. They need to know that in spite of what looks like the end of the road, there is a way forward. That they can and will rise again.

Judging by the volume of webinars being held every single day globally, we are seeing a spike in the quest for information. As such, people who have accurate and relevant information will thrive greatly in the post pandemic era.

There is a growing appetite for information on how to rebuild, how to think creatively, how to develop agility, and how to navigate uncharted territories.

When this is all over, there are those who will thrive because they seized an opportunity.

Wale Akinyemi is the chief transformation officer, PowerTalks