The Work Goes On:
Like many of you, I serve in a not-for-profit organization. In a recent meeting, we went over how there is a negative impact on revenue from grants, events, and donations due to the pandemic. Many not-for-profit organizations are struggling.
Yet, the group quickly changed to a discussion of how to continue delivering the services over video conferencing and webinars rather than the traditional in-person meetings. Many anecdotal instances of successfully moving from traditional
programs to the virtual world were related. And the creative juices began to flow.
This pandemic has made life much more difficult for those on the financial edge. The frustration of the staff members was evident on their faces. The need for services was rapidly increasing, yet they lacked the funding and the ability to deliver the services in the usual way.
After this meeting, the staff formalized new plans for providing necessary services, and the implementation of pilot programs began. Good things are now happening in the communities we serve.
The same seems to be happening in the for-profit world as well. Some companies have gone back to surveying their markets for the first time in decades. There are new market needs to fill. So, companies have retooled their production lines to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) for front-line healthcare workers. Or to provide expanded delivery options for customers maintaining personal distancing guidelines.
Even the Government
Although we seem to now be back to partisan bickering, at the beginning of this pandemic, our government at all levels cooperated to get financial relief into the hands of consumers, and they did so in record time. Perhaps the success of the stimulus will encourage the government to cooperate more in the future.
We are relearning lessons from the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Perhaps it is not realistic; however, it would be great to think that we could develop some institutional learning that would keep us from making the same mistakes as we move forward to the next pandemic—and we surely will have one.
The Bottom Line
I am impressed with the amount of pandemic engendered innovation in many of our economic sectors. I believe that creativity will bode well for our future recovery as well as continued new growth in the next year or so. Companies have learned that flexibility is critical to survival.
There is, of course, much pain from the pandemic as well. At the time of this writing, more than 170,000 Americans have lost their lives to Covid-19 related complications. The number of people affected by those deaths is many times that number. The shutdown of our economy has also created immeasurable hardship. We have had to relearn lessons we should have retained from the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Yet we did not have the institutional memory to do so. Add to that, the lessons learned from the economic shutdown, and we have much to remember for the next pandemic—which surely will come.
I hope we can look back and declare that the good coming out of our present pandemic outweighs the bad. I know there is much discussion about lessons learned from a business perspective. The question for business leaders is how to make sure those lessons are not lost as we keep moving forward.