This is my take on the quote from James Lane Allen, "Adversity does not build character, it reveals it." This is one of my favorite quotes and it proves itself true time and time again. These are strange times. Arguably the strangest many of us will (hopefully) see in our lives.
Too many people are sick, have passed away or are taking care of and grieving loved ones affected by this terrible virus. Healthcare workers and operations are overwhelmed and need love and support as they are in a war, with real repercussions we must collectively be ready to help them with after this is all over.
I live in North Carolina, one of the many states under a shelter-in-place order to limit travel and encourage social distancing. Of the very few times I have had to go out for supplies, I am amazed at how many people are carrying on like normal, not observing social distancing, still touching their faces, etc. I wonder what it takes to make people aware of the gravity of the situation we find ourselves today?
I worry about the numerous service workers that are impacted by less going out, travel, entertainment, etc. My family is doing its best to support those local restaurants as much as possible by ordering take-out and tipping generously. We are using technology to connect with our work teams, customers, friends and family. I will never take for granted again the time with those I care about.
To tie all of this to my title and favorite James Lane Allen quote, I know businesses are in a tough spot these days. From the complete business disruption of the travel industry (airlines, cruises, hotels, etc.) to small entrepreneurs having to make hard decisions with people, the impact and severity is real. Companies answer to shareholders, investors, customers, supplier and employees. It could be very tempting to slash headcount, investment and other crucial actions; and some companies may have to do just that to remain in business.
At this challenging time, I am thankful my employer, NDC Technologies and our corporate parent, Spectris plc, are doing things differently than other companies I have worked with or known in my past. We are taking the need to keep our business growing in balanced way with the real cost pressures present today. My company is looking for every possible avenue to reduce cost, serve customers and keep moving forward. We are not taking the easy path out. We are looking for ways to share the burden among everyone. I am amazed and impressed what my colleagues will do to protect our customers, business and team. No one is saying "What about me?" Everyone says "What about you? What can I do?" At a time that it would be very natural to worry about ourselves, it is inspiring to be part of a company that has amazing people like we do. I am blessed to be part of the business and I hope other organizations can critically look at everything they could do, have a multi-stage plan to manage costs and do everything possible to weather this storm and come out the other side as a more cohesive team.
Be safe, listen to the authorities trying to keep all of us healthy and care for each other!