As the Haggadah of Passover says, the Torah speaks of four children: Wise (חכם), wicked (רשע), simple (תם) and one who does not know how to ask (שאינו יודע לשאול). Looking at the Corona crisis and the economy from an entrepreneur’s perspective, there are also four similar types of people: Passive, active, strategic and visionary.
Yes, we changed the names and order from the Passover Haggadah in order to make the point.
1. Passive. What does he say? “These are times of turmoil, and I could not afford to do anything right now. I can only react where I have to. Better be passive. Better to wait it out. Better to hold my breath underwater as the wave comes along, and try to get my head out of the water on the other side.”
2. Active. What does he say? “These are times of turmoil, and I could not afford to think about the long term right now. But I can take advantage of opportunities in the short term. Change my business model if needed. Move to entire new markets, customers, products and services. Try to get what I can. Now is the time to survive the storm, and we’ll go back to “navigation mode” once the sea is flat again. So, let’s look around, see who could I be useful for in the immediate and short term, find out who suffers from current pains and have urgent needs, and try to capitalize on helping them.”
3. Strategic. What does he say? “These are indeed times of turmoil, and the smart one is absolutely right. However, I could also capitalize on opportunities for the longer term. I could “buy cheap” now and gain leverage from it later. Which companies laid off talents who I could hire right now for affordable costs? I could take the risk, and position myself for the day after the storm. I would like to use the waves in order to surf!”
4. Visionary. What does he say? “These are indeed times of turmoil, and the wicked one is right. However, the sea and landscapes themselves are changing, and will not be the same after this storm. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, innovation happens on the next curve. How do we jump curves during these times? This crisis will lead to companies redefining their business, and industries themselves may be redefined. How could I be more relevant as a business to my customer, consumers and target audiences in 3, 6, 12 months from now? I shall do as much as I can to anticipate the needs of my client, actively invest and take additional risk for a strategy that will be deployed over time.”
We know, it looks like everyone should be the visionary one, but it doesn’t really work that way in real life, and it’s not that easy. In a way, we are all a mix of all of those four.
A wise man once said that a brand is a promise, and a strong brand is a promise always delivered. Brand can also be considered as reputation.And our reputation is tested, and in many ways formed, in times such as the current COVID-19 crisis.
We all have to be a little bit of the passive type. Simply human nature. As business people, we also have to be the active type as well. However, as entrepreneurs, we should all do as much as we can to be the strategic type. Take measured risks. And if we want our reputation to be one of a leader, we should also aspire to be the visionary one. In a way, we do not have a choice. It is our Exodus Story.
Have a healthy, safe and happy Passover.
Chag Sameach | חג שמח
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