There is no pause button in life. Yet, 2020 has felt like there is. We have passed the point where I need to list all the examples of conferences, events, and trips being cancelled or moved. The pauses have made sense in most cases.
But as the summer months wore on, and as COVID-19 demonstrated it was not going away, the message I gave our team was that we had to hit the “un-pause” button. Life must go on differently — with social distancing, masks, and every other possible protective health measure we can take —but life must go on.
I met on consecutive days with our Plant Managers and Sales team in late July. We social distanced and wore masks because we were inside. But we met in person. The sales team even did dinner outside the night before our meeting. Before dinner, one of the sales team members secretly hugged me in the parking lot because she is such a rebel! Admitting all this may tempt you to judge, or even criticize, so rest assured I am not saying that you should do what I am doing. Nor am I making the argument that my actions are right. I am simply making the argument that the time has come to un-pause life.
The job of the leader in any season is to meet people where they are at, connect with them, and care for them. Unpausing is necessary because the health of people, and even businesses, is more than physical. Social distancing is wise, but social isolating is placing burdens on people they were not meant to carry. As relational beings, we need connection to thrive and that is why unpausing is no longer optional.
What this looks like for you, your business, and your home, is probably different than what it looks like for me. Maybe you are less comfortable hugging someone on your team than I am. That is absolutely okay. I am just asking every reader to stop buying into the morality argument being made by many that certain actions are either moral or immoral. While there is probably a list of behaviors all people can agree to in terms of the Pandemic, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. What works for our business might not work for yours. Same with our home. Can’t we appreciate the differences and leave it that without labeling or evaluating each other?
Leaders, I urge you to extend grace. This is gritty, novel, and what we know today might be wrong tomorrow. Therefore, our views need to be flexible.
And finally, we need to accept this new reality. Like it or not, it is here to stay. How long? I have no clue. So, it is best to hit the un-pause button, start living, and start leading your business towards the new frontier.