What Businesses Can Learn from a Virus 

Not sure if you are like me, but if I hear the term “COVID-19” one more time I may go bananas!  That said, all this talk of viruses got me thinking a bit more about them than I ever thought or cared to. On that note, I have been pondering some of the aspects of viruses and what we can learn from them and apply to our lives, personally and professionally.

A virus is hard-wired to propagate, spread, proliferate.  Businesses should be hard wired to propagate, as well. In Genesis 9:7 we are told, “increase and multiply upon the earth and fill it.”  The way we grow our businesses is largely through sales and marketing efforts, but foundational to that is the quality of your people and the values that create a healthy, high-trust eco-system where employees can contribute, solve problems, and perform their duties in alignment with the company’s vision and mission.

To propagate, a virus needs a host. For businesses and families, that is our economy. Our economy provides the atmosphere where our businesses, and thus, our families live, get sick, or die. Some viruses, like Covid-19, can endure longer than others by natural design. As business leaders, we have a lot of control over the elements that ensure our organizational health. That said, an unhealthy host provides less opportunity for a virus to spread. Today, we see how our economy and high unemployment is negatively impacting the health of businesses, large and small.

So, what are we to learn from this virus?

  • Mission Matters – Nothing inspires people more than having a worthwhile goal.
  • Build Strong Teams – Inspire great leadership (not management) that promotes high-trust and frequent, honest communication.
  • Don’t Over Leverage – The health of the economy can have devastating effects on your ability to survive if over leveraged. Stephen Covey has said, “if there is no margin, there is no mission!” We should heed this advice.
  • Execute with Discipline – Do not let fear negatively impact performance. Execute, Execute, Execute! This is the one thing we have most control over, so stay focused and do not take your eye off the prize.
  • Be Nimble – Viruses mutate so they can thrive and continue spreading.  Businesses are no different.  When the environment changes, we must adapt, or we will soon die (think Blockbuster)!

I’ll finish by saying that I am not a microbiologist. For those of you versed in the finer aspects of virology, please forgive my rudimentary understanding and the correlations to life I’ve made in this post. It is my hope that this message is an encouragement to you to stay healthy (physically, financially, and mentally). 

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