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When Strategy Solutions Are Hidden in Plain Sight

The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects provide a perfect example of similarity and difference in strategy, outcome, and impact.

Are you tired yet? If you’re reading this in 2022, the answer is probably: “yes.”

COVID-19 has tested humanity’s collective ability to adapt and strategize collectively. The Omicron variant that spread across the globe at the end of 2021 provides another test of our coordination and resolve.

The combination of time spent on high alert and the level (pace, volume, diversity) of change is hard on us. Our situation is made worse by competing demands, inconsistent messaging, and emerging and changing information.

Within this complexity and confusion lies stability and simplicity. It also provides an example in understanding how a problem and solution can co-exist at the same time.

Principles and Strategy

While the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the virus itself has changed, the fundamentals have not. Preventing the spread of the virus includes:

  1. Limit exposure opportunities (e.g., reduce social contact)
  2. Reduce opportunities for intake (e.g., wear masks)
  3. Increase airflow (e.g., good ventilation and filtration)
  4. Vaccinations
  5. Focus on reducing the threat of overwhelming the healthcare system

These issues haven’t changed despite the increased severity (Delta variant) and transmissibility (Omicron variant) of COVID-19. The fundamentals have not changed.

Healthcare workers, senior citizens in care, young adults, and children have all been considered the highest-risk populations at different times during the pandemic. Healthcare was initially at risk because so many people who had COVID got very ill. Now, healthcare is at risk because of so many infections, even if most of those aren’t serious. A small percentage of severe cases from a very large number of exposures is still a large number.

Still, the fundamentals have not changed.

Know Your Fundamentals

This is the lesson in the pandemic or in many other crisis situations: know the fundamentals and stick to them. Where many organizations fail is that they are not clear on what the fundamentals are in their business or industry.

When you take the time to learn the fundamentals of your field strategy becomes far clearer. With COVID-19 there are many policy options. The policies that will work are those designed around the fundamentals.

What are yours? Take the time to find your principles and you’ll be ready when whatever wave of crisis comes your way — viral or otherwise.

Photo credit: Gary Knight via Flickr used under CC license.

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