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Attention: Our Real Asset

Updated: May 5, 2022

Just last week while on a drive with family, we passed by one of our favourite restaurants. We were shocked to see its shutters rolled down permanently. We were very disheartened.

From a larger perspective, clearly this is not an isolated event and a stark reality of our times. The pandemic, has significantly disrupted all business. It has forced all companies to either reflect, reinvent or retire.

However, all hope is not to be lost, as it clearly has vastly different impact for each business. Industries expected to face strong headwinds include travel and tourism, offline education, utilities, real estate, food & beverage amongst others. Now, not all companies in these industries will perish, but clearly, only the very fittest will survive.

On the other hand, for many other industries there is a huge opportunity to not only survive, but actually thrive. This category includes logistics, e-commerce, warehousing, healthcare and media amongst others. All firms in these sectors will benefit from the situation.

Could it be possible, that the crisis is actually an evolutionary force? A positive impetus to take all businesses, to the next level of operational excellence.

Back in in May 2017, around three years before the pandemic, the Economist published an article titled, "The world's most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data." The piece was well researched and based on factual market realities. From then on, the phrase “Data is the new oil” gained worldwide acceptance.

Now, examining the industries expected to be negatively impacted by the pandemic, a trend is perceptible. All of them seemingly appear to be asset based. While travel and tourism doesn’t prima facie fit this bill, we must remind ourselves that they too rely on taking tourist to visit natural and historic assets.

On the other hand, looking at the sectors expected to benefit from the pandemic, it becomes apparent that, they all are information driven. Their customer interfaces are utilised for not only delivery, but also for receiving deeper customer insights. This makes them alive, sensitive and responsive, to customer preferences and grievances. In short, they pay more attention to customers, as they are really listening.

Needless of the industry we represent, we need to evolve to thrive. Clearly nature is leading the way. It always supports those who listen attentively, as that is its only evolutionary purpose.

Realising this we can initiate action to sensitise our customer interfaces, using feedback loops and Artificial Intelligence. This will certainly improve organisational efficiency. However, we must not forget that our interfaces can only get as sensitive as we are. Since they are designed by us, they cannot pay greater attention that we individually can. So maybe its time to delve into understanding the true nature of attention.

It's usually believed, that attention is simply the act of focussing. However, real attention is far deeper. It involves a complex 3 stage process first expounded by Patanjali. The three stages arei collectively termed Samyama and its outcome is insight. However, there is a secret in learning it. Only after it is practised within, can it be applied to the world around.

After mastering it within, our organisations thrive naturally. We will then be able to confidently welcome the new world, where Attention is our Real Asset.

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