The Covid-19 pandemic raises fundamental questions on how best to deal with known but infrequent risks. Some governments have been criticised for not responding fast enough to the pandemic as it unfolded.
Yet, most countries, having faced similar incidents in the past (e.g. SARS in 2002/3, Swine Flu 2009), recognised the risk and had plans in place. The lack of knowledge of the virus (e.g. symptoms, transmission, treatment, and mortality rates) and the need to reconcile multiple interests undoubtedly contributed to hesitancy, particularly in introducing measures to detect and combat the disease, and to delay its spread. Competent people are doing their very best in the circumstances, while others are feeling that there could and should have been a better way.
Time will tell if the Prime Minister and Cabinet are able to achieve their objectives of limiting the number of premature deaths and retaining the productive capability of the nation. Hopefully they will. Undoubtedly, they are committed to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Whatever the outcome, we all can gain general insights and learn important lessons about responding to major risks.
As a case example, this thought leadership article illustrates some general, but subtle, shortcomings in dealing with risks. To read Sergio's Pellegrinelli thought leadership article.
This is one of four articles written by Sergio surrounding certain issues faced in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, read also:
- Seizing Opportunities: Unconventional Responses for Unprecedented Situations
- Embrace the Future or Restore the Past? Some Leadership Choices in Shaping the Post-Covid-19 Era
- Supporting Economic Recovery: Targeted Interventions or Macro-Economic Stimuli?
About the Author
Dr Sergio Pellegrinelli is a visiting fellow at Cranfield School of Management and is an experienced consultant and lecturer specialising in strategy and programme management. Sergio has over 20 years' experience as a management consultant, and his current and recent clients include Atkins, Biffa Waste Services, British Nuclear Group, Ericsson, ING, Lloyds TSB, Oracle Corporation, Quintiles and Royal and Sun Alliance. His consulting work ranges from traditional analytical consulting interventions to tailored management development aimed at embedding new skills and/or effecting change within organisations. Sergio facilitates strategy formulation processes, contributing both ideas and the strategy frameworks, and helps managers to design and undertake strategy implementation programmes, M & A integrations and complex organisational change initiatives.