There is no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis is a world-changing event. Its impact will be felt for years by nations, by businesses, and by individuals that all need to adapt and plan for our new normal.

Confronting the Black Swan

Nassim Nicholas Taleb described the crisis that we’re confronting as a black swan event. This metaphor describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a significant impact, and makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, as if it could have been expected.

Taleb contended that acknowledging the likelihood of black swan events doesn’t mean that we should expend more resources in attempts to predict those things that are largely unpredictable, but to build robustness and resilience in our organizations and society so that we are better prepared to counter the negative and exploit the positive effects of any black swan event.

Emerging Stronger

Surprisingly, as Taleb wrote, “Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty.” Like a human bone that actually becomes stronger the more it is forced to undergo shocking external loads, resilient organizations can actually become better after confronting and overcoming vital stressors.

When the COVID-19 lockdown began, many companies were unprepared and incapable of adapting their business model to deal with imposed distancing. Even as the lockdowns ease, many businesses will flail as they try to figure out how to operate in new ways. Those with built-in resiliency will be the ones most likely to absorb the shock of the near shutdown, adapt to new business realities, and thrive in the long term.

Calculated Resilience

Our industry will reflect the same results as the hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, and all other sectors that have had to recoil, regroup, and rethink how they conduct business. Small groups of companies in each sector will outperform their peers and will emerge stronger and even more capable.

These successful companies will all share one distinct characteristics: resilience.

Since our inception 16 years ago, Ambit has consciously and enthusiastically embraced and driven change. We’ve developed a culture that attracts individuals with broad talents who take ownership of their work and build teams capable of quick reaction, rapid response, and relentless focus.

Corporately, we’ve invested in the platforms and tools that enable our teams to work collaboratively and promote continuous engagement and communication. While Ambit leadership never predicted this black swan event, they prepared for a black swan event. And when it happened, the calculated resilience that was intentionally built into all levels of the organization responded. We became a virtual organization almost overnight and have kept every employee working and delivering on-time on every single project we support.

Silver Linings From a Black Swan

As the infection curves flatten and talk of reopening the economy begins, it’s heartening to consider some of the positive outcomes from this crisis.

We’ve learned how to operate remotely, at a high level, and with unprecedented speed. It’s likely that the imposed work-from-home rules will change the way we do business with our federal partners in the future. We proved that telework works. We may find that more agencies incorporate larger telework elements in their daily operations, negating the need for onerous and time-wasting commutes.

Moreover, we learned that we can fulfill our fundamental human imperative to communicate even when apart. We created virtual teams and virtual events that kept people connected, encouraged communications, and enabled us to remain vital and productive.

Most importantly, all of our employees demonstrated the importance of hiring bright, talented, adaptable, and resilient individuals who proved that hiring cultural fits prepares Ambit to solve problems of the future, and not endlessly focus on problems of the past.

Join our team. You won’t just work. You’ll thrive.

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