Today is St. Patrick’s Day, 2020. Sadly, there won’t be much revelry this year. No parades, no leprechauns, and no green beer.
This morning as I write this post, I am at my desk with just 3 others of my team in the office. The other 25 are working from home for the next few weeks, starting today. The parking lot of our office building, which is usually full, is half empty. What should have been a 35-minute commute through Nashville traffic was instead about 18 minutes.
Such is the weirdness of living in a COVID-19 pandemic.
We haven’t seen anything like this in the US in our lifetimes. You have to go back to the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak to see a comparable global health challenge. That pandemic killed upwards of 50 million people, including my great-grandmother, who succumbed to the virus at age 29. Whereas the Spanish flu targeted the young, this particular virus is targeting those least able to fight it off.
When we rang in the new year just 10 weeks ago, none of us could have imagined what is happening right now. The economy was rocking, and 2020 was lining up to be a banner year for many of us. Now, things are grinding to a sudden halt, the stock market has lost 33% from its high water mark, and people are scared.
Now is the time for leadership!
Yes, our nonprofits and businesses are going to take a short term hit. This will sting!
Yes, there is much uncertainty. Financially speaking, many are rightfully worried about their jobs and keeping their bills paid. Many small nonprofits and businesses don’t know how they’ll get through a sustained downturn.
Those of us in leadership have a responsibility to use our platform for good. Don’t waste this opportunity to rally your employees and volunteers to rise to the challenge. Encourage them to follow the guidelines being asked for by our experts fighting this pandemic: social distancing, personal hygiene, and selfless consideration of others (no hoarding!). Encourage them that if we are all willing to do the hard things for a few weeks, hopefully we won’t have to witness the horrific things later.
We have an opportunity to keep this from getting out of control in the US. Do it. Be part of the solution. Lead.
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