Life in the Time of Coronavirus
Life seems to have paused.
Connors Group, like many small businesses across the country, has all but eliminated travel. We are fortunate enough to be able to do much of our client work remotely. But strategic consulting is ultimately at its best when conducted face-to-face. We are sitting in front of our computers, hosting remote calls and meetings, and going about the business of helping our clients, but it is most definitely not the same.
Jeff Peretin, our CEO, and I have been discussing this over the last few days, and we decided that we should put out a blog for our people, our clients and our communities about the impact of the current situation. One thing we both agreed upon was that there were two things we did NOT want to do:
First, we did not want to make this a sales pitch or outline all the things we can still do without travelling.
Second, we did not want to discuss the (obvious) negative implications to a country whose economy has largely stopped.
We already get too many of those every day. But what did want to do, was offer some examples that show the good in our society and our humanity.
The one thing we can never get enough of is optimism…
I started thinking about the conversations I had with my grandparents about the Great Depression and the sacrifices their generation made during World War II. What always struck me as we had those conversations was the lack of bitterness, they had about everything they had to forgo. If you talk to anyone who is still alive from those times, you tend to hear more about pride, and sentimentality around the good they saw during those periods. They don’t talk about going hungry or the constant fear, worry and stress (although, if pressed, they will tell you that those were ever-present conditions.) Instead, they talk about the people who went out of their way to help those around them. They talk, with a sense of pride, about how they came out as stronger people with a vastly expanded sense of perspective.
As we endure this period… we should try to engrave in our memories the positives we can see in our predicament…
Crises are never desirable. By their very nature they are dangerous and result from things outside our control, either through accident or lack of foresight. We could argue that the present crisis has an element of both. How we respond to a crisis can, however, yield some positives. As I considered the topic, I realized that crisis drives four things: Inspiration, Innovation, Personal (and Corporate) Growth, and most importantly, Hope.
People get inspired when they have an opportunity to make a difference. We see examples of the positive sides of humanity in almost every crisis. One of the more interesting things I have seen in the current crisis is the invention of the term “caremongering”. This term was coined in Canada but can be seen everywhere. It refers to people offering help or care to those that need it most. Caremongering can mean obvious contributions such as delivering supplies or meals but is intended to include broader offerings such as running errands, setting up online exercise classes, or cooking and doing chores for others. Groups are making use of social media to broadcast the concept and the ways it can help the community. For a detailed description I refer you to this article in Fox News.
Companies are finding and embracing innovative platforms that might have otherwise taken years to be incorporated. For example, using tools to communicate with their distributed workforces and adapt things like schedules and availabilities in a very fluid situation. Products like WorkJam that offer shift swapping, real-time availability updates and schedule changes are making it possible to keep our essential businesses operational.
Personal and Corporate Growth…
We are seeing this in a big way in the retail industry right now, specifically in grocery and restaurants. I think it is safe to say that the forced expansion of curbside pick-up and delivery will not be temporary. CNN published a fascinating article here that illustrates how impactful this change could be. This change in consumer preference will force grocers to transform their concept of how they operate. Successful grocers will find a way to make this their “new normal”, and adapt their model appropriately, which will benefit us all.
To me, this is illustrated through the massive acts of human kindness we are seeing all over the world. Whether it is a balcony sing-along, a free virtual concert, or a socially-distanced birthday celebration, we see that people truly care about each other. The acts of humanity during a crisis like this give us all hope that we are going to be just fine coming out the other side, and that if we need help it is literally next door.
I’d like to encourage us to share other examples of inspiration, innovation, growth and hope. We could all use some optimism, and we should take advantage of sharing it when we can. I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness or danger of the current situation. There are established outlets that do that for us on a regular basis. Please leave a comment or respond with any examples you have seen. Who knows, it might even make it into the next version of this blog…
This article was originally posted on Conor Group blog.
About the author:
Andrew Taylor, Senior Director, Connors Group
Andrew has over 20 years’ experience running operations at Fortune 500 companies. He is now a Senior Director at Connors Group. Andrew leverages his deep experience in retail strategy and operations and consulting to craft innovative solutions for clients.
As a proven management consultancy specializing in Workforce Performance and Labor Management, Connors Group assists companies in realizing long-term operational excellence through proven engineering methodologies and extensive field experience.