A Perspective On Change Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 20, 2020

I hope that everyone reading this post is healthy, safe and doing everything in your power to stay that way.

I don’t think any of us would disagree that COVID-19 is causing an unprecedented level of disruption to our daily lives and our businesses.

My heart goes out to the individuals and families who are facing the virus and fighting it. I’m also grateful for those who are heeding today’s call for social responsibility that, ironically, means being less social.

I’m glad to report that, for the moment, my immediate family and I are fine. We are sheltering in place, trying to find sources of beauty and inspiration as we go about our daily lives.

Like many of you, I’ve continued working to the best of my ability.

I’ll admit, though, that there are times when my mind goes to thoughts of how bad the situation might get, and whether we are collectively ready, willing and able to face up to the task.

I don’t dwell on these moments.

Instead, I look to the present for perspective that might apply in business and life once the world is able to slow, contain and hopefully eliminate the virus.

One of the most heartening thoughts I’ve had is this: We are all, willingly or not, learning to do things different.

While it’s true that, in the current moment, we are changing how we live our lives because we must. If we don’t, we are putting our health and safety at risk.

But I’m struck by how quickly we’re making profound changes and getting a taste of what it’s like to do things differently.

That, my friends, is a good thing.

The single-most difficult thing for any human to achieve is a change in behavior and belief. And yet, it’s happening all around us.

A colleague shared today that his wife, an ardent, daily yoga practitioner, is now streaming yoga classes in a basement room next to a heater. She misses the social aspects of sweating with friends but finds the workout itself to be satisfying. She also doesn’t miss the sometimes mad dashes from home or work to get to a yoga studio on time for a class.

It’s happening in the car business.

I’ve talked to more than one dealer who, once they recognized that showroom customers would be few and far between, began engaging them, and making deals, in earnest online. For some, that’s a big step in a business that’s been built on a belief that a controlled, showroom environment is the only way to sell cars and customers.

It’s happening in other retail sectors. Another colleague rarely bought groceries online. Now, she’s not sure she’ll ever go back to the stores she shopped. She’s discovered that it’s much easier to order the stuff online and get it delivered.

Perhaps the biggest question is whether our ability and willingness to change will extend beyond the current crisis.

I certainly don’t have the answer.

But I do know that if we take a moment to recognize how quickly we’ve changed beliefs and behaviors in the current crisis, it’ll serve as a positive, reinforcing reference as we face the changes in life and business the future will most certainly bring.