Does life feel like a weird dream right now? And thinking about the “new normal” makes me want to break out in hives. How can we not be anxious and fretful over what the future will look like? I heard today that California’s colleges will only be doing classes via the computer next fall and not in person - will this spread to the rest of the country? There was discussion recently about how all schools will be handling this for the rest of the year … will we be looking at a shutdown basically for the rest of 2020?
Ok, so I guess I feel like I’m accepting this whole change in everything fairly well but am I? I really feel that as an organization, we have it covered, our plans are solid, we are an essential business and it’ll be fine for the healthcare organizations - but for the rest of society, I’m concerned. I was talking today with some people who work in restaurants and people en masse aren’t going back yet, even though the restaurants have been open a couple of weeks or so. I know after I saw some scary movies in junior high, I didn’t sleep with my closet door open. I still don’t - fear changes people’s behavior.
As a leader my role is to calm fears, communicate effectively and guide people to good outcomes - that’s kind of a definition of leadership. Most stuff - economic strife, patient or employee engagement, minor disaster - that stuff, we can do. We’re prepared. This though? I don’t know - I keep thinking of Forrest Gump and Lieutenant Dan when they bought the shrimp boat right before the hurricane. He didn’t tie down the boat like the rest of the owners - they went right into the hurricane and it paid off - hence a successful Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Now I’m not advocating a radical different approach to our response with the pandemic, that’d be foolish, but I am saying we have to look beyond the storm and see what is possible.
There will be a vaccine. We will reopen as a society. It will be different. We need to plan differently. Not from a place of fear and reduction but from a place of growth and opportunity. I don’t know what this looks like yet, but we may have a good long while to plan. Stay tuned.