COVID-19 has given business an opportunity to reassess attitudes towards growth.
That’s the view of Banking and Finance Oath Director Cris Parker who says the pandemic could be a good time to pause to focus on the future.
“The aftermath of the pandemic presents a good time to reassess our attitude to growth,” said Cris.
“The fact that almost all sectors of business have suffered means there is a collective opportunity to slow down and reassess whether the purpose of business is to make more money for money’s sake, or to provide for human need.
"Business is now attending to issues that were always there to be addressed – but remained largely ‘unseen’.
“By presenting itself as a ‘common enemy’, COVID-19 has caused us all to look up at the same time and respond to a suite of collective problems.
“In many cases, our response has been an expression of human goodness, compassion and altruism. ‘Them’ has become ‘us’.”
The way Accor hotels opened unused accommodation to support vulnerable people is one of the examples that highlighted this altruistic approach, Cris notes.
“We have accommodation assets that can help people in times of need, and while the industry’s been devastated commercially, it doesn’t mean we can’t help,” was Accor’s CEO Simon McGrath’s mindful approach.
In a similar vein, UBER partnered with the Women’s Services Network to provide 3,000 free rides to support those needing safe travel to or from shelters and domestic violence support services.
“Australia was relatively unscathed by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and did not experience the large economic downturn felt elsewhere on the globe,” Cris added.
“However, Australia has not and will not escape the economic consequences of the pandemic – and our response to the threat it poses.
“So, how will we shape up when the challenge is an economic recession as opposed to a medical emergency? Will the good will and sense of common endeavour persist during the next phase of struggle?
“More interestingly still, will the sense of mutual obligation survive a return to posterity? Or will we resume our ‘old ways’?
“Our instinct is to seek comfort and confidence in the known which will mean going back to the way it was.
“The challenge, now, is not only to create a new future but a better future. For that to happen we need to unleash a better version of ourselves.”
Extracted from Cris article Moving Ahead Means Letting Go. To read the full version, go to https://thebfo.org/blog/moving-ahead-means-letting-go.html
Cris will be in conversation with Kylie Blundell at FINSIA’s Ethics in Financial Services in Uncertain Times. Full details here.