In the days, weeks, months and even years ahead we will be faced with many choices that will often be difficult ones; who to see, where to go, what to buy, what to say and many more?
Some will be easier decisions to make than others, but the nature and quality of the choices we make individually and collectively will define the world we inhabit going forward – so I wanted to share some of the thoughts that have filled my head today.
The first is possibly the most obvious, and that is there really must be a clear priority for saving/preserving life, closely followed by preventing the collapse of society as we know it. Assets and “things” come into the reckoning but only as a third consideration.
Just looking at those considerations a bit closer we must recognise that saving/preserving life is not to say no one will die, but rather that our decisions cannot be reckless in this regard, instead they should befully considered. Even before COVID19 people died of the flu and other respiratory diseases and conditions, but we are comfortable that on the whole, we do everything reasonable to cure and treat those ailments. COVID19 has an associated mortality rate, especially where there are certain pre-existing conditions. As it is a new disease without confirmed treatment, the death rate will be higher now than future years, but even then we will likely never get the death rate to zero. Instead, we need to be able to look ourselves in the eye each morning, knowing we did our overall best.
As a further consideration around people, family comes first, but family is not confined to blood relatives. It is a lot to do with where we belong and who we support. It can include your immediate community, workgroup or support networks. Without these functioning around us, we are less human.
In terms of society, no man woman or child is the proverbial island and both now, when times are troubled, and later, when we find new normality, we need to be part of a sustainable and healthy(?) society. We cannot afford to neglect the frameworks and behaviours that define our society, lest they break down before we can live more normally again. The more we close down or leave to break, the more we will have to do to affect the recovery we all seek.
Again, we do need assets and things to survive and then thrive again, but they are not directly susceptible to viral infection. They will survive effectively for some time, even if largely ignored. That is not true in every case, but the third position is right for these considerations.
All in all, these decisions will be something of balancing act, and sometimes there may be no “good” decision, just some that are less “bad” than others. We are seeing many business leaders making difficult decisions for their corporate families, including staff and customers. I am sure more will follow their lead.
When faced with the decisions that will come from all directions, my advice is DO THE RIGHT THING. As a guide:
If you still find yourself stuck, maybe overthinking things, it may be that an external, independent, impartial perspective might help clarify matters. You can ask a friend or colleague, but sometimes it is easier to deal with a stranger. I am a good listener and I have lived through a few ups and downs, both personal and societal, so if you have no one else to talk things out with, message me here and I will see what I can do to help.
Ian J Sutherland is a highly skilled director with expertise in governance, partnerships and regulation and almost four decades of experience serving as a powerful catalyst for change for organisations of all sizes and sectors. He thrives on identifying areas for innovation and improvement, forming effective strategies to drive efficiency and create bottom-line results. He has a proven capacity to serve as a bridge between organisations and functions, creating unity and operational coherence. A personable and creative leader, with a unique insight and the ability to see the big picture and provide constructive challenge, he writes on many matters including the delivery of change in today's world and is an opportunistic photographer who seeks to capture images that interest him. He enjoys good beer, good company and good music - not necessarily in that order.