This is a trying season for our nation as we try to hold this virus at bay. Although it is not a flesh-eating bacteria or some other type of zombie making disease, it is very serious due to its potential impact to the certain key demographics and the potential overload of vital resources. As this pandemic continues to unfold, there are a few takeaways I have and some thoughts as we move forward.
- If a zombie apocalypse ever does occur, I have a good idea of who to turn to and who to avoid based on social media posts and personal interactions.
- Our nation (the populace) is not very good at recognizing 2nd- and 3rd-order effects. Many of us are acting as if it is not a big deal and it is simply a flu-like illness. This appears to be true to some degree; however, our community and government leaders are doing very well with this and appear to be doing all they can to help us avoid spreading the Coronavirus because of the dangers to those with compromised immune systems. I could very well go to work and contract this virus and deal with the symptoms with few issues. However, I could easily spread this to my neighbors and family members before I even know I am ill.
Another potential risk many don’t think about is how viruses like this can trigger autoimmune issues. I don’t want to pretend to be another Facebook Doctor, but do want to highlight that after the H1N1 “Swine Flu” outbreak of 2009, there was a spike in Type 1 Diabetes and other types of autoimmune deficiencies in those who showed no symptoms prior. And certainly many other risks similar to this that most of can help to prevent.
All of that to accentuate the point that just because we are not afraid of “the flu”, we need to consider the impacts this could have on others. Especially, when our leaders are doing everything they can to aid us in not spreading this to others.
- Humans are not numbers! This is not a lesson learned; rather, a societal flaw. “Only 40 have died…” or “Only a 2% fatality rate…” and many other statements like this are very upsetting to me. Just consider how you would feel if one of your family members was one who has passed during this. Yes, it is great that the fatalities are very low considering what they could be and the intent of the statistics is to gauge how well the response to this is going. However, those impacted mean the world to someone else.
Opportunities Moving Forward:
- Telework. Some have jobs that can be done from anywhere. Most of us have jobs where partial tasks can be done from anywhere. Do NOT waste this opportunity to prove the value of this to your leadership. I am blessed to be able to work remotely in my new career and it is great to be able to toss a load of laundry in while I am on a conference call or to simply avoid the morning commute. I accomplish higher quality work while I am working from home than when I am at the office filled with distractions and I am not stressed from the morning traffic before I even get there. This is an area where military leaders are seriously lagging industry. There has not been much of a reason to explore this option…until now. Take advantage.
If you don’t have this ability, look for opportunities. Some examples: My son’s speech therapist is going to do FaceTime sessions with him. Music schools are going to do Facebook Live lessons. Schools are leveraging Google Classroom. The technology is available. Let’s find a way to use it for more than just sending toilet paper memes.
- Solve Problems. This has been one of my biggest pieces of advice ever since I can remember. Anyone can point out problems. Just look at your social media feeds and see all of the complaining about the President, the Democrats, the <insert organization here> are doing everything wrong…I get it. Why don’t we run these complaints through a filter before posting? For example, share lessons learned (sound familiar?) or something else that offers a path forward and not simply just creating “awareness”.
This whole situation may seem trivial to many and I hope it turns out to result in very little impact to us all. Stay healthy and be deliberate with how you lead and mentor those in your sphere of influence.