Three Wave Thought Leadership

I was inspired by a recent podcast featuring one of NZ’s best thought leaders – Rod Drury, founder of Xero.

He quoted the “Three Wave” pandemic model developed by Roger Dennis:

  • Wave One is about how to keep people alive (now)
  • Wave Two is about how to keep people working (for the next two years)
  • Wave Three is about strategic projects (two to ten years out).

On a macro level the government is currently focussing on waves one and two. Wave one – enforced lock down, physical distancing to avoid community virus transmission, virus testing, equipping hospitals etc.   Wave two – wages subsidies, tax relief, government support programmes, mortgage guarantees etc. But wave three is where the exciting opportunities lie for NZ with huge future potential.

It is a great time to be a NZer… isolated on an island (or 3) at the bottom of the world in a country with lots of rain and hills, beautiful countryside, small population, great technology, innovation and lifestyle!

On a micro level as business owners we also need to be focussing on the three waves. Wave one is how to ensure our customers and our team are safe (whether working from home or elsewhere).

Wave two is thinking about how to use the crisis to anticipate opportunities allowing us to grow and become more profitable over the next 12-24 months. For example, lock down has taught many of us that we can run our business remotely, so how can we tap into that opportunity in the medium term?

Wave three is what we want our business to look like when we get to the new “normal”, and the post COVID-19 normal will be significantly different to the pre COVID-19 normal in ways that we can’t yet predict.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

As Rod Drury says “we need to balance what we have to do right now to meet customer demands and needs, with longer term strategy and planning”.  Nothing new there, but COVID-19 has surely given us all a wake-up call to take significant action.

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