Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic – Shifting Excellence Paradigm??

Quarter 1 of 2020 has been horrible for almost all of the countries worldwide. While, the world is still going through COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to estimate the total economic loss, it has caused to the global business. China so far looks like the only country, which has been reported to curtail the epidemic with full force by invoking strict protocols and measures. Western World including North America and rest of the world are still testing and trying their best ways to curtail the aftermath of this unprecedented disease. Experts from healthcare and medical sciences are working at full throttle to discover and determine cure and prevention to stop the disease. This outbreak has proven a real catastrophe in not only scaring the masses at a very large scale but has also caused wide shut down of the societies and big chunks of economies. There are predictions that global economic recession would follow the epidemic even if it is optimistically overcome within this year.

The pandemic has also exposed the capacities and capabilities of the governments, corporate and the international organizations in terms of their readiness for business and operations continuity and disaster recovery and management. Unlike previous catastrophes occurred in the history, governments and societies have been able to communicate through the modern technologies by the available fastest medium of communications. Probably, it would be appropriate to state that digitally connected governments, corporate and communities were able to exchange information at a very high pace. Nevertheless, the discussion about the on ground actual response and mitigation after receiving this information remains debatable and subject to many interventions.

In the middle of this catastrophe, would it be justified to state that the digitization and developing the digital economies are at least the right direction to continue with better future plans? The digitally equipped economies, businesses and communities are better off in terms of assessing the losses, formulating mitigation strategies and analyzing the short term results for readjustment and fine tuning even though with all the so-called information flooded in the social media but still connecting the people. How long this pandemic will continue is not known but digital tools, techniques and frameworks are helping the communities to sail through the ocean of sufferings.

One of the paramount need is to keep imparting the knowledge and skills through education and training in the next generations pushing away the forced gaps imposed to avoid contiguity. This is really important not to let the disease and its fear to take over the human diligence. Fortunately, the modern technologies are upholding promises and can be harnessed to monetize to their full potential.

In the Western World including North America, virtual platforms already exist and being widely adopted for academic, professional and vocational education with full acceptance and accreditation. Pandemic situation has justified these investments and now these could be paced up and embarked upon for more amazing results. Not to forget, the evolving Industry 4.0 with all its technologies have proven their worth and significance. This has a great lesson for the global communities to avail this opportunity to build upon the strategies, plans with clear objectives towards digitization. Every cloud has a silver lining and all it requires is to visualize the insights, continue the struggle, develop intermediate plans and formulate new strategies to pursue clear digital objectives. This may essentially require rising above the regulatory guidelines which are boasted as benchmarks for the institutions. All of us would need to shift ourselves and the communities from reactive responses towards a proactive excellence approach. Is the current pandemic crisis really calling upon to develop a new excellence framework based upon stakeholder approach, a shift from shareholder’s paradigm?

Comments are welcome!!

Zubair Anwar

Service Quality Body of Knowledge Chair

American Society for Quality