The Bunker Strategy: surviving in lock-down

When I wrote the book the Catapult Effect in 2019, I was convinced that business is war. In January this year, I was reflecting on my goals and planning for an awesome 2020, with great plans for my business and my life in general. By the time I was celebrating my birthday on the 1st of March the threat of COVID-19 was becoming much more apparent. COVID-19 was threatening our health, survival and way of life.

When nations started going into lock-down, it was painful to hear of deaths and hard to see vibrant city streets emptied of all life. It was encouraging to see the strength and commitment of those called to the front-line to defend and safeguard our survival like doctors, nurses, till operators in supermarkets and the random delivery guy.

It was interesting to read stories about how people all over the world are trying to live during lock-down.It was funny seeing peoples’ experiences of work-from-home (WFH) routines in an attempt to maintain some semblance of sanity. But the reality was that COVID-19 had forced the majority of the world to retreat to the bunker. While in my own lock-down situation I have reflected on 5 reasons why we needed to retreat and 4 reasons why there is hope after COVID-19.

THE BUNKER STRATEGY

  • We face difficult situations and we need to hold out and survive
  • We need to hold a defensive position whilst the enemy attacks
  • We need to recuperate and recover after a brutal showdown
  • We need revisit our plans and manage resources
  • We face a level of uncertainty that we can’t handle or confront that easily and we don’t know what will happen if we do.

When COVID-19 broke out it didn’t seem like it was going to affect the world as it has done now. This meant most of us were caught unaware and without sufficient resources and planning to survive and weather the pandemic. By the time it was declared a pandemic and nations were announcing lock-downs supermarkets and any supply store was full of people buying reserves for survival.

The reason was very simple, when we face difficult situations and we need to hold out and survive. COVID-19 is a real threat to our survival and some times it is better to holdout at home in a safe place than to face the treacheries of being stuck no-man’s land facing a barrage of enemy bullets.

After years of unrelenting progress and growth some of us have been advancing and growing so much that we didn’t realized how much of what we have can be lost easily. When COVID-19 finally hit the world as a pandemic the potential economic losses that have been projected are enormous. From jobs to small businesses, to industries like education.

I don’t think anyone ever simulated a pandemic of this magnitude or an enemy with this level of aggression in attack. But what is important is that we need to hold a defensive position whilst the enemy attacks. Lock-down represents an opportunity to fortify and build stronger defensive lines in the face of the biggest black swan event of our time so far. It is this time that we appreciate the people who serve in the essential services like medical staff.

Some of us have been working tirelessly for years without end, for long hours in a bid to secure a stable future. We have missed our child’s first steps or meaningful conversation with our families and friends.

We have forgotten relationships that we valued as we drifted apart because there never seemed to be any time. We forgot to sleep to take time to re-energize and harmonize our whole being. Lock-downs all over the world have presented an opportunity for us to recuperate and recover after years of brutal showdowns at work.

It has taken an event of significant proportions to bring the world to a standstill. Some machines in factories and the people who man them had never come to a standstill.

Many companies had to stop the way they were working and implement continuity plans drafted years ago and filed away in some dusty filing cabinet or in some computer’s recycle bin.

Some had to finally implement the digital strategies that the IT department had been proposing for years. Some companies faced the daunting threat of closure after the pandemic. This time has presented an opportunity to revisit strategic plans and allocation of resources.

For some of us COVID-19 has introduced a level of uncertainty we can’t handle or confront easily and we don’t know what will happen if we do. It is a threat and an enemy that we have never faced before. It has brought worry and tension in our lives and may be even in our homes. Unlike risk which we can measure and rationalize, we can only attempt to learn and understand the potential impact of uncertainty.

It is a scary and stressful feeling to be totally unsure of what to do. While waiting things our the bunker is a place of despair. It doesn’t have to be. Though the situation may not be ideal it represents an opportunity to rediscover who we are. When we are stripped bare and reduced to the core of our being, there is a great opportunity to explore the latent potential hidden inside us.

IS THERE HOPE AFTER COVID-19?

I would emphatically say yes though I don’t know what it will look like. The reality is that we are in a difficult and uncertain situation. What will be important is maintaining the hope and faith we will make it in the end. While in lock-down facing an uncertain future we can accept that

We can simultaneously be optimistic about the future while having a deeper and more steadfast perspective of our present and challenging circumstance. Optimism along won’t get us past this unprecedented challenge. We can draw on the fortitude and strength we possess to live under battened hatches with the faith and hope to continue dreaming beautiful tomorrows. We can be lights in the darkness.

We can reflect on our present circumstance and accept what it means. It has been a difficult time for many people needing to adjust to life without certain amenities and activities. Yet, it doesn’t have to continue that way. One of the most important steps to take is to accept reality for what it is, COVID-19 is war. it is a battle for survival. We cannot take it for granted. We can however take it as a challenge and an opportunity to learn and grow.

Hope is an anchor in the storms of life. in strenuous and challenging conditions the light is never at the end of the tunnel, especially when we have no idea how long it is. The brightest light we can shine is in our hearts. Hope is the deep and unflinching expectation that we will see a brighter tomorrow no matter how dark our present circumstances are. The storms may break our masts and sails but they will certainly not break our will to live.

We can Rediscover our humanity: We are social creatures and we need each other to survive. Individualism has its limits and in times like these social support is imperative. We must seek out old friends, engage counselors and mentors, interact with anyone who has anything positive to say, encourage and reach out to someone in need and make every effort to live.

In a nutshell whilst in the bunker we need to remember what it means to be human by sharing our faith, hope and love.

Musekiwa is a prolific and eccentric author with amazing titles suitable for business strategy and daily living, which he has published.

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