Twelfth Man (Episode:1 Covid19 FUD)

Her fingers prodded her chest with a sense of disbelief. She turned back to see if the signal is really meant for her. We have all been in this situation. Haven’t we! “Go. Go. Go. Its your chance”, called her coach. The injury to the on-field player had given her a chance to get into the playing 11. She was the substitute who had been preparing for the match for weeks but her time had not come. Her moment of truth needed the coach’s endorsement and right timing to join the game. She just received the signal and this was her chance to be counted in the revered eleven.

The role of coach has never been bigger than in the looming Covid19 situation. The conventional businesses and sectors are facing an existential challenge. This is not like any other global shock that I have seen in my lifetime. The 2008 financial challenge impacted supply, the H1N1 and SARS virus challenge decelerated the demand, but Covid 19 has impacted both the demand and supply side of the economic model. We will have to wait to see when the dust settles. But I am convinced that this shock will have new winners and new losers and those are not predictable today.

Over past two decades, I have seen that pursuing innovation for differentiation has been expensive in Pakistan. Instead of first mover, the second mover tends to gain the advantage. Me-too services made on a cheaper promise by follower(s) did capitalize on the market awareness that leader had created in the market. This results in innovation sponsors to limit their willingness to provide innovation capital. Thus the reasons cited for deferring such investments are market readiness and cost-reward ratios. “Lets respond to this immediately and we will look at the new idea buildup in the next quarter(s)” Catch-up strategy which worked in that quarter has exhausted its life-line, its term stands finished by Covid 19. The new quarter after the lock down will have a new normal.

No matter how dark it seems, I am an eternal optimist. I am writing this today to tell the entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs that all is not lost. The opportunity window is short and requires a quick redressal. The ones who can imagine the new ecosystem and make strategic shift decisions will be able to recover earlier from the post Covid19 situation.

You have to do things that you had on their bucket list but couldn’t do for any reason priority, fear or ego. You have to utilize the lock-down and isolation time asking the insights from the twelfth men who were not the priority and were not a part of playing 11. You thought their answers did not matter. You thought their answers were futuristic or rocket science. They were called reserve, railo katta, crazy, different, 12th man. As luck would have it, their time has come. Its their time now. They are the new normal. You have to do what you have to do. Befriend them , Talk2 them, they are your new coach (…..contd)

Incase you did not know what FUD stands for and even if you did not look for the acronyms before or after reading the blog, its Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. This was intentional to give you an idea that you have to be prepared to unlearn and re-skill yourselves for the new normal.

I have dedicated my time now to this new journey and help the ones that are looking to change.

For more on my new journey, you can reach me on my Work from Home calendar schedule

I dedicate this blog to my family, coaches, partners and customers who gave me the opportunity against all odds. I owe a public gratitude to all of you for giving me a chance. Without your belief to add diversity in your teams, I would not have been able to make it this far. I vow to continue my support to the twelfth man for I see myself in each one of you. I pray to the Almighty that humanity stands out as winner in the fight against Covid19 (Amen). The future is together, the future is human.

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