The Covid Roller Coaster


2019 – Everything is (kind of) going accord to plan.

2020 – The world went Covid-crazy.

2021 Q1 and Q2 – “Let’s find the new normal.”

2021 Q3 – Oops! The new normal has been put on hold.

So, here are three opening thoughts to a series we are starting at MindPrep. You can get the full newsletters HERE.

It’s a Wicked World – deal with it

No, this is not a commentary on morality. It’s a commentary on working in a world without precedent. First, some simple explanations.

“Kind” environments have repeating patterns and feedback is accurate and rapid. Therefore, decision making can often improve with added experience. You can learn “the rules of the game” and become an expert by developing expert intuition. Examples of people in this environment range from chess masters to golf professionals to suburban firefighters to business strategists before 2020.

“Wicked” environments exist where the rules of the game are unclear, feedback is spotty at best, and patterns are lacking or not obvious. Expertise-based thinking may be helpful or, more likely, may lead you astray because it is based on a past that is no longer relevant and will likely not return.

Planning and decision making in this environment is anything but routine and intuition must be challenged. This is the environment we are living in right now with the pandemic. The “new normal” is and will be very wicked.

It’s time to think like an explorer.

Throughout history explorers prepared for expeditions by understanding, as best they could, the conditions they were about to face and then went about improving the equipment they would use.

Early explorers to the South Pole knew that they needed warm clothing and lightweight (but strong) sleds, so they focused a lot of their efforts on improving their equipment. Sometimes explorers opted for maximum flexibility because they didn’t know how the conditions would change over time. Blankets can be used for warmth; they can also be used for shade.

The explorers’ reality is a world of known and unknown; and it calls for elegant flexibility.

Consider the most flexible equipment at your disposal – the ability to think and imagine new ways and new things.

Mistakes will be made. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off.  

We’ve spent decades fine tuning our careers and business models. Efficiency was paramount and rewarded. We gave lip service to “innovation,” but punished experiments that didn’t provide rapid ROI.

But now its time to think and act using less time than you want. Wicked worlds keep morphing and doing so in novel ways.

For those of you who know me, you know that I’ve been running workshops for decades built on a simple cycle of Sense, Make Sense, Decide, and Act. I refer to this cycle as the Sense-Response Cycle (SRC) and admonish attendees to “keep up with the pace of change or become irrelevant.” But what was fast in 2019 is normal today. We have to run this cycle uncomfortably fast.

Don’t let perfect get in the way of good-enough progress. All of us will make mistakes. It’s the reality of a wicked world. Deal with them and keep moving. We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves.

Remember, the future favors a prepared mind. And preparing your mind is a never-ending responsibility. You can get our recent MindPrep Newsletters HERE.


The next couple of newsletters will focus on understanding the future and ways of dealing with it.

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