A Time to Pull Together

Seasons have a way of changing, whether we want them to or not. With each new season, different behaviors are required. Today as I sit on a plane surrounded by others who are hesitantly traveling, I keep thinking about past times when circumstances beyond our control created a season of change. At 9:01am on April 19, 1995, Oklahoma business was in full bloom with focus on getting more oil, making more money, and beating the competition, but by 9:03am the season had abruptly and dramatically changed. In the aftermath of the bombing at the Murrah Federal Building the tone was different. City and business leaders began to pull together and those who were only minutes before thinking about how to outbid, were now out coming together with their peers to help the city. The community began to pull together and attention turned to helping others. There were so many people trying to help that the newscasters had to ask people to stop bringing supplies.

And then again on 9/11, we saw one of the most globally competitive, fast moving cities in the world experience an unexpected season shift. One that not only changed every New Yorker forever, but also changed people all over the world. New Yorkers understood that business was irreparably disrupted for the foreseeable future. Those who may have thought that markets and trading were everything the day before found themselves handing water to others, helping the displaced workers, putting money toward efforts to help victims, providing food and clothing, and so much more.

I know that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not the same in that it isn’t a terrorist act and didn’t come on as suddenly as the events mentioned above, but it is causing an unexpected season shift in business. It’s also a good reminder that what really matters are people, our health, and our ability to be with friends, family, and colleagues. Yes, business is impacted, including ours, but we will recover, and you will recover as well. I’m not saying every business will make it through. I’m sure some of the travel companies will have severe losses as well as all of those in the travel industry supply chain. But whether you are with your current company a year from now or another company, it will eventually be OK. We will make it through this, and it’s a great time to do what we do when something dramatic impacts so many. We pull together. Here are some ways that you can help:

  • Show up as a leader in your company and community.
  • Pick a direction and start leading others through the fog.
  • Help calm fears.
  • Slow down.
  • Check on people.
  • Offer even small kindnesses that give us that human connection.
  • Bring water to someone who seems stressed.
  • Talk to those around you.
  • Tell a joke or ask about family/pets.
  • Take a walk for your work discussions instead of sitting behind a desk.
  • Breathe. Be thankful. Be helpful.
  • Let go of financial worries. The situation is what it is. Focus on the people.

It’s just a great time to pull together and a great time to lead from whatever seat you happen to sit in. People need leadership, so don’t wait for someone else to do it. Everyone can help lead through this season change.

We are thankful for all of you, our customers, our friends, and our industry colleagues.

May you be safe, healthy, and find unexpected meaningful moments as you connect with others.

Our Best Regards,

Bonnie and EDA Team