What if Covid-19 turns out to be the unseen guest that just won’t leave?

Thursday August 06 2020

Post-Covid-19 superstars are those that will recognise opportunities that came disguised as a coronavirus problem. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


Leaders are grappling with the massive disruptions caused by Covid-19. The debate is, do we expect a post-Covid-19 order or should we be talking about living with the coronavirus instead? Is it here to stay? The truth is that whichever way things go, a demand will be made for lifestyle changes.

A post-Covid-19 era will be akin to a post-war era and a need to rebuild. Businesses will need rebuilding. Those that lost relevance will rethink. Some have lost their lives and those that they left behind will need to re-calibrate.

If the virus is here to stay there will be a need for major lifestyle changes, meaning we will make social distancing and sanitation a culture. Even the state of mass transit will be altered forever.

The good news is that the greatest transformations happen after major tragedies. This is a historical fact. There would be no United Nations today if were not for world wars. Tragedies force people to craft solutions and trigger innovation. The League of Nations which morphed into the UN that gave birth to so many other bodies that have brought nations together around a common purpose.

If managed well, people looking back at this period in the future might just say that the best thing that happened to the African continent was the Covid-19 pandemic. The immediate effect of this pandemic on Africa was that people were confined to their nations.

Travel abroad stopped and people had to look inward. The greatest catalyst of growth is production. This is where Africa had failed. We had developed an appetite for things we did not produce and kept importing stuff that could be produced locally. Of course, our mindset had a lot to play in this also.


When foreign things were branded as better and pushed you higher up the social ladder, people rather opted for all things foreign. The pandemic ensured that we look inward. The wise would have used this opportunity to realise that homegrown was good enough and sufficient. Others would see it as a temporary setback and wait for life to get back to default settings.

Two types of leaders emerge: Those who will just wait out the pandemic hoping for the best. And those who will look for the opportunities within the pandemic and go after them with everything they have. Those in waiting mode soon discover that hope is not a strategy. The opportunists are pragmatists who do not seek the beaten path but thrive in creating new trails.

The new stars of this era will not be the ones who were pre-Covid-19 superstars. They will be those who can discover the inherent opportunities and navigate through them.

There is a formula for detecting such opportunities. Many do not recognise opportunities that come disguised as problems. If you can isolate the problems created by coronavirus in your workplace or in your immediate sphere, then behind these lies an opportunity. The opportunity is in the solution.

People look up to leaders for solutions. In complaining, you chip away at your leadership. Leaders cannot subscribe to the thinking of the led. They are different. Solution minded people were designed to lead problem minded people. It is in the mentality and how you carry yourself. You may be the titleholder, but if you do not have solutions, then your leadership is questionable.

Wale Akinyemi is the chief transformation officer, PowerTalks