COVID-19 situation – Crisis or Opportunities? Depends on Your Mindset

The virus crisis has thrown the world into chaos. This is the period where we face unprecedented disruption and damage to livelihoods and economies.

In a recent press release, I shared, “The virus crisis is a test on our systems and processes – we need to display our ability to respond quickly and appropriately as one coordinated system. This is also a test on our leadership – to influence and connect with the masses using the right avenues and messages in a time of fear and uncertainty. All of these boil down to how fast we can switch our mindsets and take action.”

While we seek order and structure amidst the storm, the manner in which we do so are driven by our mindsets and as a result, the outcomes are vastly different.

Many organizations were thrown into disarray, trying to get their act together and organize massive implementation of work-from-home at short notice, collaborate across virtual teams, reviewing contingency plans, down-sizing, cost-cutting–any way possible to brave the storm in one piece. Others took the chance to create new revenue streams by responding to demands in the market, retain jobs and fulfil civic responsibility at the same time. Here are some examples.

  • Permod Ricard SA retooled their distilleries to produce hand sanitizers
  • Tesla Inc and Medtronic Inc worked together to produce ventilators at scale
  • H&M changed their production line to manufacture more surgical garments.

Agility mindset is vital for business leaders and equally important for individuals.

In my work as an executive coach, supporting professionals through this period is surreal. Conversations on some days were filled with positivity and hope while on other days, the mood is depressive and anxious. The news we receive might be largely the same but the mindset and hence response, from each individual makes or breaks the deal.

Some individuals I work with are all ready to embrace new ways of work and quickly made adjustments to their daily habits and household routines to “make the best out of the situation”. They could even identify opportunities for growth and learning in this period where they finally had the extra few hours in a day to “complete that online learning they had wanted to do so last year”. Some struggled to see any point on starting anything new and simply wanted to wait for the storm to pass.

The question is, when will the COVID-19 crisis end? Honestly, no one has the answer. One thing is clear though–life has to go on. We need to preserve as much normalcy as possible and keep on living, learning and growing. Should the crisis persist for another 6, 12 or even 18 months, how ready are you? Can we turn crisis into opportunity by making the necessary changes in our minds?

Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, can we be agile and ride the waves?  Opportunities are always there–you just need to learn to look with a different mindset.

Yeo Chuen Chuen is a leadership coach and the Founder of ACESENCE ( She can be reached on