Dealing With A Black Swan

Black Swan

Businesses (and people) all over the world are dealing with the global pandemic of COVD-19. For most organizations, this was a black swan. For those not familiar with the term, a black swan is a situation that could not be anticipated.

The phrase was a common expression in 16th century London as a statement of impossibility. The London expression derives from the presumption that all swans must be white because all historical records of swans reported that they had white feathers. In that context, a black swan was impossible or at least nonexistent. However, in 1697, Dutch explorers became the first Europeans to see black swans, in Western Australia. 

So how do you plan for something you cannot predict? Start with determining exactly what resources you need to continue operating. Once you know what you need, determine how much you need to operate for six months. When you know what you will need, see how much of it you can stockpile. Remember not everything you need will be able to be stored (restaurants for example cannot stockpile six months of fresh food). It’s also difficult to ensure you have the financial resources for six months, but over time you should make the effort to do so.

When you have figured out what can and can’t be stored, you need to plan how you can operate without the resources you can’t store. Can you change your operations so you don’t need them? If not, do you have multiple sources where you can obtain them. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make in planning is relying on one supplier or one customer. Diversify supply chains and do not rely on a single large customer for the survival of your business.

The nature of a black swan event is that you cannot predict it. Planning for the wits possible outcome, no matter how remote, will give you the leg up when a catastrophe hits.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group an help you plan your strategy and implement operations, contact us here.