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You need Talents to grow, and Rebels to survive. This is the moment for risk takers.

By Matteo Rizzi

The question everyone has in mind right now is: what next? At all levels, we are either worried about how the job market will evolve or pivot, how fast the economy will recover, or simply whether or not our families will be safe, both physically or economically. In the past ten weeks, in Europe at least, we learned how to work differently, and a digital leapfrog for all ages became mandatory to ensure basic needs like talking to your family, or buying food online.

I am conscious of the fact that it is not easy at all to talk about innovation, novelty, risks, out-of-the comfort zone impulses when you don’t know if your bills will be paid at the end of the month. Granted. My point though is that you cannot overcome such a global crisis without an approach (or at least without complementing your “crisis mode” approach) based on disruption, reinvention, rebuilding, and a challenging the status quo type of attitude.

In the financial industry, FinTech was born out of the Lehman Brothers collapse, leading to a great depression in financial services and a major lack of trust on the consumer side. So the question here is not whether or not innovation will come out of this crisis, but only WHEN it will happen. And, both at company or individual level, whether we want to be leaders or followers.

Dare to hear different voices, engage with unconventional talents, encourage the dissenters and invest in the development of the skills and knowledge of your workforce. This is not something that before COVID-19 you couldn’t do, but now more than ever, before the focus and the emphasis on “unconventional approaches,” makes the most sense. How to do this?

Difficult to have a simple recipe fitting all situations, but it starts by recognizing the openness and accepting the odds given by the outcome of such an approach as a good start, and top management is a good place to start. Same applies for smaller businesses and individuals. The Leader/Follower approach is applicable to all of us. It is about becoming the master of your next path before someone else decides it for you.

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