Is the worst of the devastating COVID-19 virus behind us?
More than 350,000 people in our country have died. The pandemic has also damaged our economy, businesses and employment. We did move into a recession – some feared a depression, and yet employment improved. Small businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, have been devastated.
Many workers didn’t save enough money to carry them through unemployment. As a result, they were hurt financially and will continue to be in dire straits for a while.
When you look back, what will you think about the virus? Could you benefit from any of the lessons?
Appreciate where you are
Years ago, I had waited too long to pull a dock out of the lake in northern Wisconsin. It was a cold November day, and my two sons and nephew were helping me before the lake froze.
They were standing on the dock, regretting my procrastination. I was standing in the water, wearing waders. The temperature was about 32 degrees. None of us was particularly happy that we had to do this.
It began to snow with a mixture of light rain. Our problem could worsen if the rain on the dock started to freeze. I looked at the boys and said: “Throw your head back, and catch some snowflakes on your tongue. We may never experience this again in our lives. Regardless of your situation, appreciate where you are and absorb the surrounding environment.”
It reminded me of the Seals & Crofts song “We May Never Pass This Way Again.” This isn’t to make light of the virus. It’s to recognize that no matter the situation, be aware of the lessons it can teach you.
What Vistage chairs learned
During a virtual meeting recently, Bridget Wenman, a Vistage chair from central Wisconsin, asked, “During this virus timeframe, what have you learned about yourself that surprised you?”
The key phrase was “that surprised you.”
Each chair thought about it. We all came up with something different. It’s easy to believe that at a certain point in time, you know yourself pretty well. But when you gain new insights, it’s a worthwhile exercise.
I really enjoyed catching up on projects around the house. Other chairs said they:
Embraced a healthier lifestyle.
Concluded that the loss of touch between humans was a big problem.
Missed large gatherings of friends and attending festivals.
Realized our business models are going to be different and more virtual.
Noticed how rapidly the economy can weaken.
Admitted that many companies didn’t have adequate reserves.
With four decades of work experience behind me, the exercise provided an incredible and valuable insight.
What have you learned?
Now it’s your turn. What have you learned during this pandemic about yourself, your company, your staff, or your loved ones that surprised you? How can you benefit from that information?
Significant events occur regularly. You fail to notice the impact on your daily life from a long-term perspective. Consider that the past 20 years have included the Great Recession, other viruses, impeachment, stock market fluctuations, and the list goes on.
The bad news is that significant events will continue to affect our financial health, society, culture, spirituality and continuous technological innovations.
What lessons will you take away from the COVID-19 experience?
The virus is also prompting businesses to question accepted business practices. How will this experience affect your supply chains, inventory levels, manufacturing locations and business partners? There will be a “new normal,” the same phrase we used after the Great Recession.
The new normal will continue to be new from this day forward. If you want to stay in business, learn how to monitor, adjust and be relevant.