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Lockdown season calls for a paradigm shift in conduct of business

By David Oginde | March 22nd 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Covid-19 has certainly pushed the world into desperate times. Every sector of social and economic enterprise has been affected. Businesses and organisations that depend on human interactions and exchanges are the most hit. The transport industry, especially international air travel, the hospitality industry, and social activities such as sports, worship services, weddings and funerals, are all impacted.

Pictures of various cities in Europe and North America show the significant impact this pandemic has visited on human activity. Major road complexes that are usually extra busy with six to eight lanes of vehicles, are deserted with only a handful of vehicles zooming past every once in a while. Some cities are like ghost towns, with no human life in sight. It certainly appears like a dress rehearsal for the end of the age.

What is becoming absolutely clear is that the normal course of life can be totally disrupted in a matter of seconds. In spite of our advances in technology, a virus can shut down the world as we all watch helplessly. As some have rightly observed, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the minions, the learned and the unschooled, have all been brought to the same level – helpless and, in some cases, hopeless. In some countries, the private jet owner and the pedestrian have both been grounded.

At this, I must pause and admire the intellectual tenacity of people like Harrison Mumia of the Atheists of Kenya, and Makau Mutua, a distinguished Kenyan-American law professor. The two gentlemen have shown an unusual capacity to cling to the ever weakening straw of the irrelevance of God. This, at a time when the majority of the world has stopped to contemplate over the possible existence of a Superior Being pulling some strings out there. In so doing, the Covid-19 has unusually quarantined Mumia and Mutua in the same room of peculiar reasoning.

In the meantime, President Kenyatta walks tall and free, having recognised the supremacy of God Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and earth, as entrenched in the Preamble of the Kenya Constitution 2010. We greatly commend him for calling the nation to a National Day of Prayer. We believe that the results will soon be manifest as promised by God to those who humble themselves before Him.

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What appears to be evolving, however, is a situation where the normal, ordinary, and usual are fast fading into the background. As people recede into their homes as the centre of all their activities, businesses and organisations are forced to swim into the deep blue sea. This calls for the shifting of paradigms in the conduct of business, irrespective of which sector we might find ourselves in.

Depending on how long this pandemic might last, it is only organisations which generate and implement good ideas about better, more efficient ways of working that will survive. What is even more scary is that, after it is all over, people may not go back to the products and services they previously consumed. They will probably have settled into their newfound coping habits. The implication is that, like in fishing, we must go where the fish has migrated to. In this regard, it is amazing how various companies, schools and churches have quickly adopted innovative ways to ensure business continuity.

It has been so heartening to see how some schools have adopted online learning within days of closure. Some businesses have equally gone online, with their staff working from home. In the religious sector, adoption of new ideas has been slow, but some churches are blazing the trail. Mavuno Church, while suspending the Sunday gatherings, advertised special online services for the children, youth, and adults – all available on phone or tablet. CITAM has equally gone online with live broadcast services on TV, radio, and livestream on Facebook and YouTube. Members are also doing Bible study through Zoom and Skype. But perhaps the most creative is a church in the USA that is offering Drive-In services. Members drive into the compound but stay in their cars as the Pastoral team runs the service from the Church foyer.

It is clear that we are in a season for creativity and innovation. Unfortunately, such innovative thinking is not common. Instead, the known, the routine, and the trodden path are ever so attractive. No wonder, Henry Ford once announced: “I am looking for a lot of men with an infinite capacity for not knowing what can’t be done.” Such men and women are desperately needed now!

- The writer is the presiding bishop of Christ is the Answer Ministries. [email protected]

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