Facts, True Facts, and Hoaxes

August 10, 2020 / Category: Business Success

What to Do in These Unprecedented Times

We all read, watch, listen. To experts. To data. To ‘the news.’

As I write this column, there is political pressure to ‘open’ the economy. And Google just announced remote working for another 12 months. How would you like to be a business that depends on any of their 120,000+ employees coming to work? And what signal do you think it sends to other employers competing for talent?

If you watch CNN and Fox, they each present ‘the news.’ And they are presenting alternative points of view on ‘facts’ that could not paint more different pictures of our country and our world. As Mark Twain famously said, “There are three kinds of lies: liesdamned lies, and statistics.”

Are we in a recession? Technically, it depends on how you define it, ‘statistically.’ Some people actually argue that we are in an expansion, as jobs are being created since May, the stock market is back up, and the Nasdaq hit an all-time high. Try telling that to your friends and family whose livelihoods come from restaurants, cruises, or airlines. Or malls. Or…

It’s like the old, sad saying that the difference between a recession and a depression is…‘A recession is when you lose your job; a depression is when I lose mine!’

Which really leads to the point that we all have to make our own decisions as to how we will manage our lives and our businesses. It’s not easy.

Do I really need to wear a mask to be outside in my yard to talk to some workmen from six feet or more away? Well, why wouldn’t I? It’s hot, I feel stupid, and ‘they’ say it’s safe. My wife disagrees, and she sways over ‘they’ every time.

Is it safe to open the schools? I’m in the perfect slot on that one. I can make the argument for keeping them closed or for some hybrid.  But it’s not a decision I need to make: Our kids are too old, and our grandkids too young. But, so many of our colleagues are wrestling with that decision, and it impacts all aspects of our worlds. When the local schools closed in March, we knew our world had changed. ‘Family first’ was and is no longer a pithy ‘value’ as evidenced by a minor debate about when and how we eat dinner, support the homework, take our vacations. It means how do we truly take care of our children, helping get their social, emotional, and intellectual growth with their peer group? How can we be present for them, as well as be present for our work, from home.

At the end of the day, so many of us have really tough decisions to make. We have to listen to our own values, honor our own beliefs, and look for ways to survive – if not thrive – in this really changed world. We need to have open, honest, and real conversations with our teams, our families, and our schools. It’s unlikely you will change anyone’s mind, no matter what news show they watch. You can only decide – and then plan – for yourself, your team, your business.


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