September 26, 2020


In a world where nearly everyone is always online, there is no offline.

the pace of change

The Pace of Change cartoon

“The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again,” Justin Trudeau famously said in his 2018 speech at Davos.

Of course that was two years before COVID-19 changed and accelerated everyone’s plans beyond recognition.  

A recent McKinsey report chronicled a few examples of organizations making heroic overnight changes in the last few months to their business models, technology, and customer experience, including “a global telco that redeployed 1,000 store employees to inside sales and retrained them in three weeks” and “a US-based retailer that launched curbside delivery in two days versus the previously-planned 18 months.”

Yet McKinsey probes just how sustainable this pace of change is. They write, “CEOs recognize the need to shift from adrenaline-based speed during COVID-19 to speed by design for the long run.” They then highlight a few examples of how to cultivate speed by design.

Your Ad Ignored Here
“If marketing kept a diary, this would be it.”
– Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs

Order Now

In this chaotic year, many brands and businesses are relying on adrenaline only.  Organizations can only run on those fumes for so long. Adrenaline-based speed can lead to burnout.

Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg described this burnout in a recent HBR article as “war room fatigue.” She draws from her experience in developmental psychology to describe three stages that people go through in a time of crisis: Emergency, Regression, and Recovery. In her view, we’re entering the Regression stage, where adrenaline fades and it gets harder to keep up the pace.

It’s a good time to focus on our organizations for the long-term.

Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:

Digital Transformation” April 2020 (license this cartoon)

Digital Transformation cartoon

The New Normal” May 2020 (license this cartoon)

The New Normal cartoon

Decision Paralysis” March 2020 (license this cartoon)

Every Project Right Now cartoon

Marketoonist | Tom Fishburne