As I type, the vast majority of planet Earth has been shut down. No, that is not a typo and it’s not a passage from a fictional novel. A global pandemic, a microscopic pathogen known as Covid-19, has caused the entire known world to come to a screeching halt. Suffice to say that, while over the years there have been hints of the risk associated with the future prospects of a global pandemic, most of us could never have dreamed/nightmared the state we find ourselves in, in the spring of 2020.
Both professionally and personally, every living human-being has been disrupted. Unlike major catastrophes we have experienced over the past two decades, where pockets of people, or segments of the economy may have been impacted, Covid-19 has spared no person or community, and no segment of the global economy.
During times of dramatic change and disruption, the analogy of a cup comes to mind… where we might not know the contents of that cup until it’s knocked over and the contents are spilled. All of us have been “knocked over.” What spills out of us informs others as to who we truly are. Character, beliefs and behavior are exposed and in the case of a global pandemic, one as comprehensively destructive as Covid-19, what is being exposed is often intensely raw.
Uncertainty, as deep and broad as we have ever experienced it, has been and will likely remain THE prominent feature of our daily lives for weeks, perhaps months to come. And the ways in which humanity processes the full weight of these oppressive, uncertain times truly spans the full emotional and behavioral spectrum. By now, each of us has likely played witness to the good, the bad and the ugly associated with the spilling contents of the cups that surround us, physically and virtually!
As I sift through the torrent of information that relentlessly rushes toward us, I can’t help but be drawn to the stories of connection. I am a realist however and as such, I accept, begrudgingly, that there will always be negative elements to any situation. Presently, it doesn’t take much effort to locate and fixate on the ugly underbelly of the Covid-19 pandemic. People are dying. People are experiencing pay-cuts, or worse, losing their jobs. Company revenues are drying up. Politics remain as divisive as ever… The list can go on and on and on. Yet, my eyes and my heart continue to turn toward the incredible and in some cases, surprising acts of humanitarianism and heroism!
Indeed, while media (TV, Print and Digital/Social) forces seem prone to shift our focus in the direction of drama, I believe it’s critically important to our own mental and physical well-being, to intentionally locate, fixate and highlight the examples of connections that have sprung up throughout our global community!
The world has been forced to physically distance ourselves from one another. Social-distancing, a term that historically remained outside our routine lexicon, now permeates every conversation. However, have you noticed how, while we have been physically separated, we have actually increased our degree of connection? It’s been fascinating to observe how people and companies, have worked to enhance levels of connection and strengthen their respective personal and professional communities. We humans are social beings. We exist to dwell and indeed, thrive within the construct of others, teams, families, groups, departments, friendships, social media networks…
- Companies can be seen shifting their manufacturing operations away from their core products in order to make and deliver much-needed masks and ventilators.
- Countries/Governments coming together to assist one another in the care of their critically ill.
- Charitable giving and acts of serving have steadily grown as the pandemic lengthens.
- Recognition and acts of tremendous gratitude for those who made the choice to work in professions that place them in harms’ way each time they show up, such as Doctors and Nurses, Police and Firemen, Grocery Store personnel and even, perhaps most importantly, Starbucks employees!
- The dramatic explosion of Video Conferencing. Not just for work purposes, but, for social gathering. Have you taken part in a Video Conferenced Happy Hour yet?
- Musical artists, who have lost their ability to perform live, have taken to Facebook Live and are putting on nightly performances
Among the multitude of enduring features of our industry, the one that has consistently stood out most to me is our collective ability to come together, collaborate and overcome any and all obstacles tossed our way. History has recorded how time and again, we have found ways to create, innovate and ultimately ensure those whom we serve are cared for and as much as possible, protected from the disruption. Perhaps more than any other sudden disruption to hit the global mobility industry, I believe the Covid-19 pandemic will force a degree of change on a scale never before seen. Indeed, the coming days, weeks and months will not be easy. But, dealing with the not-so-easy stuff is what we do, isn’t it? My hope and prayer for all of you is that personally and professionally, you are left as unharmed as possible and that you are able to navigate these uncertain times with minimum inconvenience.
Now is not the time to isolate. Locking arms with both old and new connections is needed, perhaps required more than ever! Find peace and strength in the collective power and capabilities that reside within your networks and throughout our wonderful industry.
As many of you know, Bristol long ago coined our guiding operational philosophy: to Connect with, versus Control people. Rooted in the full spirit of our acute focus on connection, I know that Bristol Global Mobility and the industry at-large will once again rise to this latest challenge!
I wish you all a safe and healthy Covid-19 journey. And I REALLY look forward to seeing you, shaking your hand and maybe even enjoying a hug once we reach the other side!