On Sunday of the long weekend honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I was notified that school had been cancelled for Tuesday and Wednesday due to COVID-19 cases affecting both students and staff. You may be thinking, as I did, “You mean going remote.” No, the district meant cancelled.
I was surprised by this communication; I thought that because of technology options, the experience of the past year, and the school’s previous ability to adapt there might be a pivot to remote learning again, not a school cancellation. But as the pandemic continues to evolve, our schools’, and society’s, resilience is being tested.
Some lessons from this incident can be applied to operating financial services companies, too:
- The only constant is that COVID-19 will continue to surprise us. Practices that worked early in 2020 may not hold up any longer, especially with variants that are more contagious, even among vaccinated people.
- Corporations are part of a larger social ecosystem. While your corporation may feel resilient, other parts of the ecosystem can break at any time. Employees are people, and the health of their loved ones, children’s teachers, local healthcare workers, and more all impact them.
- Focus on data, not dates. Corporations want to provide, and employees are seeking specific guidance and dates for changes to company policies. As we near the two-year mark of this pandemic, we need to admit our inability to predict the future.
- Give up on “going back.” There is no going back to the way things were in 2019 or before. We will keep moving forward into a new normal, and progress may be uneven.
This isn’t all bad. Developing a new normal by practicing humility, reviewing resiliency practices frequently, focusing more on data and less on wishes, and fully engaging employees could be a silver lining to a very dark cloud.
Getting this wrong and failing to view the full picture of how the pandemic is impacting corporations may alienate employees, exacerbate the Great Disconnect, and lead to more resignations.
One prediction I can make with complete certainty, however, is that COVID-19 will keep surprising us. To discuss this topic further, please reach out to me at [email protected].