The corona pandemic has challenged established norms and accelerated normally slow decision-making processes. Perhaps we are too close to the epicentre of the crisis to understand the significant change we are facing. We who work in the media, in my case since the late 1970s, have lived in constant evolution. I have witnessed the transition from lead compensation to computerisation, from digitalisation to Zoom meetings. Is the end of development nigh? Hardly.
We have worked from home for the past 20 years and are used to it by now. It is on our work travels that we meet a lot of people, thus not being able to travel at all for a long period feels odd. We all have very different personalities, which creates different conditions for many people when we are now part of a paradigm shift. In Sweden alone, an estimated 9,000 companies in the hotel and restaurant industry are forecast to fold. If the same figure is applied to the world, that which many of us thought was an upward curve of economic development will instead bring about significant change for whole communities.
We are facing a transition that will have a major effect on large parts of the world as we know it. We are in the midst of a world-historical event that is difficult to get the distance too because it is ongoing. The changes have been constant for several years, but too many people have not analysed the changes as a regular pattern. Along comes, a pandemic and everything is turned on its head.
It is now all about changing and doing so as early as possible, preferably yesterday. What are your chances of coping with the transition? The survival of the fittest is often explained as the strong survive. But what it means is those who adapt have the highest chance of survival.
It is easy to understand how people feel stressed by the drawn-out uncertainty in the meeting with the unknown. When faced with difficulties, our crisis management strategies are exposed. Some of us handle crises head-on by being strong-willed. Others have a fatalist approach and are more on their guard. When the two strategies can coexist, and even complement each other, then you know that there is an acceptance for differences. What does not work, however, is when the strategies collide. It can happen in a close relationship when you give up on each other, and it is just like in society. It is when you start to blame the other person and deflect everything onto them that things begin to go downhill.
But it is good to worry because worry raises the cortisol levels and makes you more cautious. If you are completely unafraid, then you are irresponsible. Panic is the problem. The difference itself is never the problem, rather how people react to it.
The need for contact manifests itself, we see that every day. Since the beginning of the 20th century, development has accelerated constantly. This is the first time that we have had to press the reset button. This helps people to rediscover things that got lost in the “normal” life. The new normal is to take back things that mean a lot to us. The coronavirus has decided that for us.
Events, congresses, conferences and many other types of meetings can and shall be implemented both physically and digitally. We now have to up the tempo in a sustainable way and create better conditions for improving global cooperation. Business events are one of the most important keys to a better future.
Nobel Prize winner in literature George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”