Business Transformation

Finding purpose during a Pandemic: What was your shocking discovery?

By now you realize there is a light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel and it’s not a freight train bearing down the tracks toward you. What have we learned? More importantly, what did you learn? It’s time to define your purpose as a result of the effects of the virus.

  • Provide
  • Unconditional
  • Responses to
  • Pandemic
  • Obstacles via
  • Sensible
  • Education

I lived a life of acronyms rivaling a bowl of alphabet soup during my 25-year Air Force career but discovered it is a great way to memorize an important message while experiencing similar functions following crises. Various offices or teams of individuals implementing an acronym were tasked to investigate, then write an after-action report following a major incident or crisis. The intention of the report was to determine the root causes of events, then dissect the successful and unsuccessful actions and reactions employed by leadership during said crisis. The formulation of best practices constantly improves our dynamic plans used to effectively deal with future crises. The after-action report is a learning tool that is invaluable at all levels of leadership.

Perhaps Memos for Record or after-action reports are not your cup of tea. Then maybe your post-pandemic purpose is to formulate a training pamphlet or better yet, write a book with a factual message on how you and your company stared bankruptcy in the face during the height of the pandemic; or highlight the actions you took to save your company during the pandemic.  I guarantee there are thousands of readers who would purchase either book!

The mask mandates are waning (except on airplanes and a few select businesses), the gloves are off, and the American economic machine is deliberately churning back up to speed. To quote a legendary 1983 Flashdance hit by Irene Cara, “What a Feeling!”

This piece is not meant to be an all-encompassing diatribe of new Covid-19 lessons learned, easily found during a simple internet search. But is meant to be more of a thought-provoking nudge urging you to think through YOUR process improvements, gains in efficiencies, or those dreaded bottom-line killers evolving over the past 18 months of the Pandemic.

In my nearly 60 years on this planet, I had never suffered through a pandemic, or anything of the like, that affected every living soul on earth — a population teetering around 7.8 billion people in 2021. Think about that. Every human being on earth is now familiar with or has been affected by Covid-19 in one way or another. That is hard for me to fathom. I would imagine there are people in some areas of the world who have never heard of the Apollo moon landing, the assassination of JFK, or the killing of Osama Bin Laden, three of the most significant and highly publicized news events in my lifetime.

Let us relive the early days when news of the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the airwaves on our nightly news channels. We were clueless! Hell, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know! And I would bet many of you were feeling the same.

In your leadership role, what was the first obstacle you faced? What were the first three obstacles you endured? I would guarantee they were more than mere bumps in the road. Many of you faced immediate transportation issues as some foreign countries were added to ‘Do Not Travel’ lists. Interstate and global commerce were being constrained and the worst part, it was totally out of our control as governments around the world attempted to wrap their arms around this newfound virus.

An April 2021 headline on the Travel and Leisure website read: “In April State Department to Add More Than 100 Countries to ‘Do Not Travel’ List As COVID-19 Continues to Spread.” Yes, you read that right, 100 countries. None of us knew the ramifications of this new government guidance. But we were about to find out.

Board rooms bustled to life resembling London’s Piccadilly Circus tube station during rush hour while leadership raced to adhere to the daily changes in requirements via government press conferences in hopes of curbing the ultra-negative effects of the virus. The organization’s thinkers arrived with ideas, while senior management fought through sleepless nights, employing ever-changing plans enabling them to keep their doors open and investors feeling at least a bit optimistic despite the tumultuous times.

What affected your operations most? I would submit three examples that immediately pop into my head:

  1. Supply lines astonishingly screeching to a halt and the extremely detrimental effect on thousands of businesses.
  2. Cities and states mandating complete lockdowns forcing your workforce to work from the confines of home, was something none of us had ever experienced before.
  3. Leaders forced to direct major organizational meetings via remote Apps like Zoom where, at times, slow or clogged home internet bandwidth created extreme frustration.

We have lived through one pandemic in our lifetime; therefore, generating ample amounts of literature published through papers, periodicals, and books will benefit future leaders in your position enabling them to make the right choices and decisions to ease the burden on their staff and profit margin during the next global virus attack. We have been there, done that and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. So, it’s up to us to educate our future generations at all levels of the corporate ladder to better understand the results of the past so they will successfully endure any future pandemics.

Our purpose is to educate and pay it forward. How noble is that? So, seize your post-pandemic purpose and let’s go!

Written by Ken Murray.

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Ken Murray
ken-murray is an Author of “On Parr” and Ghostwriter. On Parr is a story of hope, resolve, and Col. Ralph Parr’s ability to persevere when faced with unrelenting odds. During his 34-year U.S. Air Force career, Col. Ralph Parr was awarded more than 60 U.S. and foreign decorations, including 41 Air Medals. Through his five deployments spanning three wars, he pushed every aircraft he flew to its limit. The book will be available for purchase May 2021.

Books by Ken Murray:
On Parr: The Stunning Combat Missions of American Fighter Ace, Colonel Ralph Parr.

Ken Murray is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.