Geoff Colvin, author, Senior Editor-at-Large at Fortune Magazine, and contributor to CBS News Radio, will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming NAED Eastern Region Conference. Colvin has analyzed business leaders worldwide as they navigate strategy during and after the COVID pandemic. He is calling his speech at the Eastern Region Conference, “Recalibrate How to Succeed In This Business Climate”.
“Here we are in an economy with factors that have never combined before as far as I can tell,” Colvin said on the “DistributED with tED magazine” podcast. “And so, there isn’t anybody alive today who has any experience with anything like this. The last time it happened was 103 years ago. So, nobody has an advantage. And it’s really something to be optimistic about. Nobody is smarter than you are about how to respond to circumstances like these. Those who can confront reality, accept it quickly, are going to do well. But it isn’t easy. We are not hard-wired to do that. It doesn’t really come naturally to us.”
Colvin said on the podcast that he is regularly monitoring some key economic factors, like personal spending, income, and how people are saving money. He says spending remains strong, but is definitely not as strong as it would be if we were not dealing with COVID. Income remains high, due in part to stimulus payments and unemployment benefits. And, he says now more than ever, people are saving or investing money for the future. That should lead to a boost in the economy in the future. “We are seeing a really unprecedented amount of pent-up demand. The money that is out there in the form of income and in the form of savings is way above what you would think for the amount of consumption that is going on.”
But, Colvin also points out that right now, supply chain problems are “overwhelming”. With ongoing huge disruptions, he finds it difficult to predict when they will be resolved.
“Just before the pandemic, you can ship a standard container from China to a West Coast port in the U.S. for $3,000. And now, it’s costing up to $19,000 to ship that same container that same distance. That’s devastating for some businesses,” Colvin pointed out. “When you combine everything else that is factoring in. Trucking in the United States, there aren’t enough truck drivers. It will get settled out, the markets will do what markets do and this will get worked out. But, it’s all brand new and it’s requiring managers and leaders to think in completely new ways. That’s really one of the challenges that’s going to distinguish winners from losers.”
Colvin also believes it is essential that people and co-workers return to in-person offices, conferences, meetings, and trade shows when they feel safe. He points out what he learned while working on his book, “Humans Are Underrated: Proving Your Value In The Age of Brilliant Technology” that people work best when they are around other people. “This is something that I feel really strongly about, and I feel strongly about it because of all the research I have done on it. There is a magic that happens only when we are interacting with each other, in-person, face-to-face. We are hard-wired for that.
“When we are in person, face-to-face, the pupils in our eyes respond to one another. They dilate and constrict in sympathy with one another. We’re not aware that it is happening, but it is happening. And research shows that it builds trust. When we are in person, face to face, we unconsciously mimic each other’s tone of voice. At the same time, when we are in person, we have these unplanned encounters when we talk with people. That has been shown to be the foundation of creativity. And genius businesspeople have known this for years.”
The NAED Eastern Region Conference will be held November 8-10 at the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas. You can register to attend in-person at www.naed.org/easternregionconference. Early Bird rates expire on Friday, October 8.
And you can listen to the entire “DistributED with tED magazine” podcast on any podcast player, or by clicking this link.