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President's Message

September 2020

From the Business Perspective Newsletter

Finding "Just Right"

What a summer.

Not enough: lazy days by a pool, dinners with friends or nights at the ballpark. Family reunions, graduations and vacation photos.

Too many: Positive COVID tests, lost lives, closed businesses, wildfires, job losses, cancelled events. And way too many Zoom calls.

Too much: Uncertainty, anxiety and political vitriol.

But like Goldilocks in the story of the three bears, you’ve likely discovered a few things that were “just right."

Upon reflection, “just right” might not have been what we thought we wanted but just what we needed. Treasured time with family. Time to cook and enjoy meals together. Time to explore hobbies, organize your closets, garages or family photos, and check tasks off years’ worth of to-do lists.  Many reached out to people through technology they haven’t seen for years.

And those many Zoom calls filling our calendars? It’s hard to imagine these past six months without all the amazing technology that has enabled us to work remotely and keep in touch with our teams, customers and our families. Technology brought family together who hadn’t seen each other in years. After all this social distancing I know I’ll never again take for granted the opportunity to get together with my family or to see all of you at an in-person event.

The intensity of the speed of change has heightened, shortening timelines for decision-making during this crisis. Decisions have crucial consequences for the health of loved ones and for our businesses. The good news is out of this time we’ve witnessed incredible creativity and collaboration. The key word of the pandemic for business seems to be “pivot” and nearly everyone has. Some pivots were transforming to a new business model, like Kyle and Heather Steppe who quickly moved their Downtown OP-based KC Hemp to an entirely online/delivery model, cutting costs and improving service. Restaurants created entirely-new menus, focusing on family-style meals for curb-side pick up or delivery, and many of you ramped up, mobilizing your entire teams to remotely work almost overnight.

The key is to figure out how to sustain the emergency creativity we’ve employed over the last few months into solutions that will work for the long-haul. Which of your new “COVID-friendly” services are popular AND make business sense so they have a life post-pandemic? Is remote work an option that now provides flexibility for your workforce? What best practices did you develop that provide your operation new options moving forward?

The biggest question for me is how to maintain the creativity of these past few months as we move into developing long-term solutions. Sometimes our best thinking is under pressure, yet we know that the intensity of the pressure we’ve been under lately is just not sustainable. This pandemic isn’t short-term, so our challenge as leaders is to figure out how to channel our resources and creativity for our workplaces, community and families for the long-term.

Continue Reading the September 2020 Newsletter

Tracey Osborne Oltjen

written by

Tracey Osborne Oltjen, CCE, IOM

President & CEO