COVID-19 – a Black Swan event

In light of the current novel and ambiguous situation, we at Unbox have sought to find answers to some of the most asked or thought of questions. In our recently conducted webinar on the 30th April 2020 ‘UnQuarantine your mind’, we spoke to Bala, the Ex-Managing Director of a Big 4 Audit firm who managed a 3000+ strong organisation across management, risk and technology, and is now a Business Advisor and Leadership Coach. In a 3-blog series, we will discuss the three main takeaways from this conversation: the first one being – Nicholas Taleb in his book describes a Black Swan event as – The COVID-19 situation certainly fits this description – it has impacted the economy of over 190 countries and brought them to the brink of recession, apart from threatening the lives of people. The stock market has also taken a hit; a 30% drop was recorded in less than 20 trading days. Every country is trying to “flatten the curve”. However, we must consider the fact that flattening the medical curve steepens the economic recession curve. The key here is to find a fine balance between ensuring that the number of cases does not increase while trying to get the economy up and running.
Considering the extent and intensity of the impact, along with the ambiguity of the situation, a question that most of us ponder is, “How do we go about this situation? Should we be scared? Careful?” The exact words used by Bala to describe the ideal approach is ‘Cautious Optimism’. Being overly optimistic and thinking that normalcy will be restored soon blinds us from reality. Instead, we need to be cautious and take the necessary steps that will better prepare us to face this situation.

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