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Business During A Slowdown

Rest and Retrain

Q: Sadhguru, you wrote that “If you have money in your pocket, it is great. Only if it enters your head, it becomes a perversion.” Right now, there is a real fear that money is not even coming into our pocket. What do we do in times like these?

Sadhguru: The money is still going into someone’s pocket, though that maybe not the kind of pocket that will use it to create wellbeing and wealth for humanity at large.

When there is a certain slowdown, it hurts because you have prepared yourself in terms of people and material for a certain speed. Suddenly, when there is slowdown, you have an excess capacity and not enough to do. When such a thing happens, normally most companies in the world go for retrenchment. They want to cut down their staff. There is a difference between cutting down on your stock of material and cutting down on people who work for you. Modern management tends to treat both the same way.

I would say there is a different way to approach this. Instead of laying off people, why not sit down with them and let them take a cut on their salary and use the saved amount to retrain them into a new possibility? There may be a slowdown in your current field of activity but there are definitely other opportunities. You can use such a time to retrain yourself and people around you and retool everything. If instead of looking at it as a recession you look at it as a period of rest, after a while you could come back into activity with much more vigour. Rest is the basis of all activity. If the business is getting a little bit of rest, it could be a phenomenal advantage; unless the rest lasts for too long.

In the present situation, the rest will not last for too long because businesses are not limited to geographical boundaries. People can always rejig themselves and move to other areas where they could function better. There are many possibilities. But fundamentally, instead of cutting back on human resources, we can approach them in a friendly manner, ask them to share the burden and keep their colleagues with them. That way, you can pass through this period of rest with a certain level of bonding and togetherness and be ready for the next level of action.
Innovating during a Crisis

Q: Although many business leaders are very focused right now on resolving current issues and minimising damages and losses, there are many entrepreneurs who are keeping their eyes slightly higher and seeking new opportunities. Can you predict two new industry of businesses that will emerge because of this pandemic crisis?

Sadhguru: One unfortunate development could be that arms and ammunition sales go up tremendously because those who are doing well would like to protect what they have. It has happened in the United States. In California, gun sales have gone up heavily because of the virus. They are buying guns because now they understand when people have nothing to eat, they may enter your homes and grab whatever little you have. These situations could happen between societies and nations. I hope it does not go there, but that is one possible immediate development.

The agro-related industry could also take off in a big way because once people taste a little bit of food scarcity, they will become very conscious about how food should be organised. Let us say, every family in the country went without food just for one day – you saw your children without food for just a single day. Suppose even if you had the money, there was no food in the market. If that happened, you will see that the food industry will become very important, not necessarily in terms of processing and packaging. Agriculture and agro-based related activities could become crucial which is a very positive step the world, because only when that happens will people stay on the land; otherwise they will try to move somewhere else.

Technology could also become very big because right now everyone is talking about working from home. I think those who go through a phase of working from home for six months, once they overcome whatever domestic troubles they have, will not want to go back to the office. They will enjoy working from home on their own time, in their own way, while probably being more productive than going to the office. And in most cities, particularly in India, commuting to work is quite a daily circus. It is not joke; it needs enormous skill just to get from one place to another. Three hours back and forth on a polluted street, breathing in everyone’s exhaust smoke. So once people understand the peace and quiet from which they can work, technology and telecommunications will become very important.

Another important sector which could get seriously disrupted, apart from tourism – which may come back after some time – is education. If people are in education as a business, this could go for a big toss. This whole idea of children or students congregating in one building to learn something may completely evaporate. Fundamentally, transmission of information is all that is largely happening in educational institutions. With the advent of artificial intelligence, this kind of education has already been on the way out. But the virus has brought haste to that process. So, for the education industry to change in a massive way, we will have to do significant innovation. For that also, we will need bandwidth – data delivery, telecommunications and technology. I feel there is going to be a massive upsurge for those who are in that segment of business; the next five years’ time could see anywhere between 500 to 1000 percent growth. Because if you want to deliver education and various services on technological platforms, you will definitely need a tenfold growth to make it happen.

Sadhguru. Named one of 50 most influential people, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author & poet. Sadhguru has been conferred the “Padma Vibhushan” by the Government of India in 2017, the highest civilian award of the year, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.

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