This pandemic has brought with it unprecedented change and uncertainty. At best, it has been disruptive. At worst, it has been traumatic. We’ve not yet cleared the initial public health crisis here in the U.S., let alone passed the ugly middle of the economic fallout.

Wherever your business is on the crisis journey, think ultra-marathons, not sprints. While both are maximal efforts, the wear and tear of 100+ mile race is quite different than that of a 400 meter competition. The longer contest can be just about finishing in tact. And so it is with the current crisis.

Now, imagine that the race is a series of sprints within the marathon… This captures a little bit of what management teams and employees are up against now. The challenge is to intentionally toggle your mindset and management approach in a planned and disciplined manner between long and short term, reactive and creative, problem-solving and transforming.

Here are four controllable risks in this moment may not be obvious as we all react to a next normal that has yet to come into focus:

  1. Failure of imagination;
  2. Failure to integrate learnings of the crisis;
  3. Failure to re-design during and post-crisis; and
  4. Failure to execute short- and long-term.

To mitigate these, leadership teams can ask the following questions, identify options, and implement the best answers.

  • What do we know? What don’t we know? How do we approach what we don’t know we don’t know?
  • Is the business learning as fast as stakeholders require? If not what changes would help close the gap?
  • How do we design management practices and operations for our right-now purposes?
  • How do we quickly enhance the ability to execute both regular business and crisis management?

How we deal or don’t deal with these questions will predict how we  and our organizations adapt to the social, market, and other changes to come.