While leaders and governments in many parts of the globe are still fighting Covid-19, others are already planning for the future. As it transpires, one of the main keys for success in the post-pandemic world is transformation through new learning.
Time to reset and restart
It’s a fact that the present public health crisis has brought the world to a standstill, and now a dynamic reset and restart is called for. But the question is, what kind of leadership in the post-pandemic world can inspire individuals, companies, organisations and countries to reinvent themselves in order to succeed?
Before this crisis, systems and leadership styles followed universally accepted standards. The goal was to foster efficiency and, ultimately, increase revenues. This applied to the production of goods, the delivery of services, scientific research, teaching and learning.
However, after the pandemic subsides, values, standards and approaches will need a thorough rethink and recalibration to align with the hopes and aims of the emerging new world.
Now, we all have come to realise that no one is immune to new diseases, neither royalty, nor famous Hollywood stars, nor multi-millionaires with luxury refuges in the middle of nowhere.
As a result, previous universal standards, forms of political and socioeconomic authority and social divisions were quite badly hit by this novel, microscopic virus.
New value systems and new heroes emerging
More particularly, the world has seen how fast the challenge of the socio-political status quo can escalate to social unrest and chaos. Like the massive protests against police violence directed at black Americans in the USA, following the killing of George Floyd by police. Similarly, this challenge of authority is manifested in mass shootings in schools and colleges across the USA and Europe, as well as in the rise of terrorism, and religious or political fanaticism.
Yet, it is not only standards and belief systems that the virus has shattered. Even traditional figures of authority are now openly disputed, while new heroes emerge. Doctors and nurses, epidemiologists and public health specialists, hospital cleaners, garbage collectors, pilots delivering medical supplies, pharmacists and reporters have now captured the hearts of the public.
In addition, this is the moment of volunteers to shine, from those printing 3-D respirators and face shields in their offices, to housewives sewing protective cloth masks at home, or even survivors of the disease, sharing their experiences through social or conventional media. These are the celebrated new heroes.
The public and the media are beginning to express resentment for the astronomical sums earned by football and cinema stars, in sharp contrast to the salaries of exhausted doctors and nurses and overwhelmed front line workers, who are risking their own lives to save others.
New countries capture the public’s attention
Furthermore, traditional protagonists of global affairs like China, the USA, Russia and the UK have been put to shame, for the way they have handled the pandemic, by much smaller countries like New Zealand, Iceland and Singapore. African countries are also faring much better, exhibiting lower infection rates than highly advanced European countries like Spain, Italy and France.
Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that all countries need dynamic, efficient and forward thinking leaders to successfully lead their people into the new world after the pandemic. And corporations need these leaders too.
But how can leaders push corporations forward into the uncharted territory of the post-pandemic world? How can they transform themselves and their leadership style to inspire those they lead? How can a work force, still battling with fear and stress about health and finances, be re-grouped and revitalised? Probably the best way to achieve transformation is through new learning.
Transformation through learning
As UNICON Chair Marco Serrato writes, ‘In the volatile and dynamic environment being shaped by events like COVID-19, executives need to embrace learning as an essential element of the future of work. Not long ago, competitive advantage among individuals, organisations, and different world regions belonged to those who knew the most—a knowledge economy. Now it accrues to those who know how to learn the most—a learning economy. This context presents several opportunities and challenges that shape both the future of work and the role that executive development plays in supporting individuals, organisations, and society overall.’
Indisputably, the development of new organisational models begins with the transformation of those who lead. Successful leaders of tomorrow will have to learn today how to transform and inspire themselves and their teams, to move their organisations effectively and successfully into the post-pandemic era.
Furthermore, new organisational models should offer employees the opportunity to learn how to navigate through unknown waters. Thanks to technological advances this is easily achieved in the employees’ own free time, without interfering with their work and family commitments, through online delivery.
A win-win situation for employers and employees
For example, the Unicaf Corporate Scholarship Scheme allows groups of employees in the same organisation to study online, for a higher academic or professional qualification, at a fraction of the cost, through the award of generous group scholarships.
On the one hand, the scheme allows employees to pay greatly reduced fees in flexible installments, and benefit from gaining new knowledge, skills and qualifications. On the other hand, the employer ends up with a better trained and more efficient workforce, at no cost to the organisation.
In fact, employees can pursue an academic degree or a professional development short course, choosing to study with any one of Unicaf’s internationally recognised and accredited partner universities. Unicaf’s partners are located in the UK (the University of Suffolk, Liverpool John Moores University, and the University of East London) in the USA (the University of California, Riverside Extension) and in Africa (multi-campus Unicaf University).
In short, a new type of leadership is needed to lead humankind out of the present crisis and into the post-pandemic era with success. And the necessary transformation and reinvention of individuals, corporations and nations in the learning oriented, global economy of tomorrow is easily achievable with online learning through Unicaf.