After running its course, the original Call for Leaders – 3Q was completed successfully, achieving its intended purpose of bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of the Romanian business scene in the context of the current crisis. Now, Business Review followed up with some of Romania’s top professionals and entrepreneurs for #Call4Leaders part II – Back in Business, to see how they mapped out the long-awaited return to normality.
Current conversation: Bogdan Florea, CEO Connections
How do you define the new normal that everyone should submit?
I am not comfortable with the “new normal” tag. It gives me a feeling of permanence. If I buy it, that means we will have to live indefinitely with the issue, for many coming years. As long as I still hope the current crisis is an accident of the human history, and as long as I still believe in it ending up in 1-2 years, I prefer to call this – the “new stress”, not the “new normal”.
Yet, I am aware of me, potentially, being wrong. Anyway, if we talk about the current crisis, I think there are parts of the picture that require us to adapt and parts of it that only call for common sense: washing hands, for instance. Or avoiding spending time in crowded rooms. When it comes to the rest, I think the crisis will ignite our capacity of empathy and meaningful communication. Once you are physically present in a conversation – the non-verbal gestures, the mimics and the attitude can help you convey messages easier. Once one communicates virtually, in order to get the same out of a discussion, will challenge somebody to use and maximize all the pure verbal communication skills.
Moreover, the virtual calls push everybody to be more efficient, more organized and deliver impactful messages. Absence of physical closeness should be compensated by empathy conveyed virtually. Coming back to the question, this “new normal” is, for me, less a dystopia and more of a challenge.
Has this crisis altered your optimism or hopes for your business plans in this calendar year?
Let’s say the crisis has shed a weird light over the medium term future. It did not alter our optimism, more it re-designed our strategy. During the lockdown I read “Antifragile”, by Nassim Taleb. I could play with concepts and say that the crisis forced us to fight for antifragilism rather than remain in a poorly understood concept of robustness. We are following our business plan – apparently successfully, but we oversee it from a different angle. And this changed our strategy also. It is not so much about reaching targets, but rather on how we see ourselves as an organization in the next months.
What’s next for the industry you are currently representing?
Information Technology seems to be the lucky winner of the crisis. I am sceptical, though, that all the current business models will prevail. I think technology can lead the way, for the long-term future, but paradigm will change even for this industry. X-as-a-Service will become the new normal, innovation in user experience will be an intrinsic requirement, integration of platforms, i.e the capacity to wrap separate modules in a meaningful delivery will change the game faster than we expected until March. Apart from this, automation, analytics and artificial intelligence – the triple-A trifecta, will drive the change of the next years towards digital transformation in a lot of areas that we could have not even imagined few years ago.