In some ways the new realities we’re all facing during this pandemic are starting to feel like a really long car trip.
“Are we there yet?”, ask the kids for the umpteenth time.
No, unfortunately, we don’t seem to be “there” just yet.
And it may be another few hours, if we don’t have car trouble.
As hard as it is though, it could be worse. In fact, for many people, it is worse.
Lately whenever people have asked how I am, I reply that if I took 100 random people around me, and ranked them by how much they now have to worry about compared to before, I would rank somewhere near the bottom of the list.
I try to remind myself of that on a regular basis. It’s good to have things for which we are grateful.
Gratitude, being thankful for what we do have, is an important habit that more of us would do well to adopt.
Comparing to Other People, and to Other Times
So we can compare ourselves to other people who have it worse, and admit that we have less to worry about than most of them; I suspect that most readers of this blog are in similar positions.
Business families, and those who advise them, are often part of the upper middle class, if not also part of the proverbial “1%”.
So what if we compare this pandemic to how it might have been to live through something similar in a previous decade.
Imagine a real car trip from your childhood, where you were in the back seat, bored to the point of playing “licence plate bingo” or some other lame distraction.
Back then, we were truly left “to our own devices”, whereas today’s kids typically each have their “own device”!
Still Getting Things Done
Many of us are continuing to “get things done”, even if we need to modify how we do it.
Many of us are “zooming” or using other online platforms to meet, and getting better at it all the time.
We better get used to it, because there doesn’t seem to be anything that will magically happen that will get things back to the way they were a few months ago.
And so if things will remain uncertain for a while, what can we do?
Plan for the Worst
I think that hoping things get resolved quickly and continuing to do very little else is likely the worst course of action.
The old adage of “Plan for the worst; Hope for the best” still holds.
I heard a business owner on the radio recently, who happens to be a former client, who runs a manufacturing operation with a large and growing online B2C business.
He said that they are working on the assumption that things will remain as they are now for the next 18-24 months, and they are acting accordingly.
I knew he was a wise man when he hired me a few years ago, but he proved it again just there.
Doesn’t it make sense to plan for a long period of this, and then you can hopefully unwind it early, rather than to simply patch things as you go, and hope things will come back next month?
Family Issues to Be Addressed?
Meanwhile, these past few months have likely raised some issues in the family circle in addition to the business circle.
In some ways the question “Are we there yet?”, when asked about a family’s governance, might also have a clear “No, not yet” answer.
Some of these family aspects, now that they have surfaced, may be worth revisiting, before they get worse.
Individual Development for “When We Get There”
And as long as there’s still some more time to go until we “get there”, isn’t this an ideal opportunity for some of the individuals who are part of the business family, to work on themselves to develop whatever capacities they need to work on, to be even more ready for the day when they’ll be expected to take on more responsibility?
This new, unconventional situation we are living is full of questions, but not all of the answers are negative.
There are positives and opportunities here, available to those who have their eyes open and who have the right attitude.
We may not be there yet, but we will get there.