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Adapted from: Photo by Kasuma from Pexels

Uncertainty and anxiety are present after any major disaster, like a lingering fog. The more consciously we focus on navigating through the next several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the better our recovery will be.

By Cheri Lovre and Art Kleiner

Note to the reader: I coauthored this article with Cheri Lovre, founder of the Crisis Management Institute in Salem, Oregon. Cheri works with educators to help school communities recover after school shootings, the 9/11 attack, natural disasters such as wildfires, other similarly devastating events, and now, the Covid-19 virus. We agreed to publish it under my Medium account. She is the author of a book, A Little Book of Courage for the Big Pandemic, which we worked on together and have just self-published. The idea for this essay came from there. …


For business thinkers, it’s never been so easy to publish… and never been so hard to write what people are truly looking to read.

By Art Kleiner

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Photo by Elizabeth Kleiner

“I want to write a book,” said Alicia, “to build up my brand name.” A leadership development expert in her mid-40s, she’s one of those uncannily gifted facilitators who can walk into a room of squabbling top executives and, with just a few well-placed questions, shift the atmosphere from overwrought to kumbaya. But first she has to be invited in.

Since she’s a freelancer competing against the likes of McKinsey and Bain, she’s constantly worried about her ability to get noticed. Conventional wisdom increasingly says that if you want to get your foot in the door, you have to produce thought leadership. You have to show, in other words, that you are worthy of being recognized for your insight, and that you have the conceptual key to unlock other peoples’ problems, inside your enterprise and ideally in the world at large. …


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Photograph by Elizabeth Kleiner

An appreciation of Coronavirus: The Swiss Cheese Strategy by Tomas Pueyo.
This is the first of a series of reviews of thought leadership.

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis how ideas have real-world consequences. For instance, the “warp speed” approach to vaccine research and development didn’t come from out of nowhere. It echoes the concept of agile software development (also known as “sprint and scrum,”) which in turn hearkens back to the “challenge-driven leadership” concept in place at MIT. You could probably trace it back to the U.S. …


She said it was the “happiest day of her life.” I learned to accept the feeling that life is out of my control.

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Julius and Irene Kleiner, April 2013 — about four months after the events in this story.

Lately, when I read articles about the tragic sweep of Covid-19 through nursing homes and senior care living centers, I am reminded of the day my mother ran away from her senior residence home. In retrospect, she said it was the happiest day of her life. As for me, the responsible son charged with taking care of my parents in their final years, it was the day I realized that I would never feel in control of the situation. …


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Illustration by Elizabeth Kleiner

Strong economic fundamentals could lead us into a “Y-shaped recovery”

By Art Kleiner

This new economic collapse isn’t fair. Most people still haven’t rebuilt their wealth back from the crash of 2008. Some economists say it could be even worse this time. They say not to expect a V-shaped recovery, surging back to life after a month or so. Maybe we’ll get a U-shaped recovery, with a few months of doldrums and then a rise. Some fear it will be L-shaped, like Japan’s lost two decades: slow, tepid growth tinged with bitterness. The longer it takes to start recovery, they say, the worse the prospects will be.

But I’m not pessimistic about the economy. At a moment when some are arguing that the economic crisis will be worse than the medical crisis, it may be valuable to keep some of the reasons for economic optimism in mind. Not right away — the loss of jobs, work, business, and opportunity will seem so great as to be unbearable, until you compare it to the loss of life and health. Nonetheless, based on fundamentals and some aspects of the business environment, I think there is a plausible case for optimism about a broad economic rebound. …


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This year’s Coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis may challenge the way people (especially business people) think about compassion and human value.

By Art Kleiner

After weeks of accelerating impact, the Corona virus has people thinking more carefully about other people. How peculiar it feels, at first, to be told that everyone must be super-careful because strangers might otherwise get sick. And then how quickly empathy becomes second nature. “Be safe” replaces “Take it easy” at the end of emails. Politicians who treated empathy as a weakness now talk about watching out for others. We agree to a shutdown that puts our own livelihoods in danger, perhaps severe danger, and we realize that this sacrifice is the price of awareness, for there are people more vulnerable to disease, and we need to watch out for them. …


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There’s a recovery coming probably later this year. It won’t be like other recoveries. It will need better, more creative, more actionable ideas — that stand out even in a glut of strategic insight.

If you’re a business leader, a consultant, a “thought leader” or an entrepreneur today, wondering about your cash flow during the next few months of pandemic and downturn, it’s also time to think about the few months after that. You may be stuck at home for a while. You have time to stop and think. …

About

Art Kleiner

Thoughtful business writer & editor. Wise Advocate, Age of Heretics, Who Really Matters, 5th Discipline Fieldbook, strategy+business, Whole Earth Catalog.

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