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History Predicted This Moment

Courtney Lynch, November 16, 2020


Covid cases are now on the rise in every state.  We are currently facing the highest daily counts of new cases since the pandemic began.  We suspected we were in for a tough winter ahead, and now it’s beginning.  History anticipated this moment.  Below is a chart of death rates from the 1918 flu pandemic.  This data is from the UK.  The UK has some of the most accurate data from that pandemic (and death rates were more trackable than new cases back then).  Global patterns were pretty similar to these:

The week of November 16, 1918 was a peak week for the crisis.  It appears history is repeating itself, with a twist.  Our peak weeks are likely still in front of us.  While there is good news on the horizon for the likelihood of a vaccine for this coronavirus, as leaders, we still need to make it through the present.  Here are three tips for leading your family and your colleagues through this new, bigger, pandemic wave: 

  1. Leverage your experience.  Fortunately, our medical community has learned many lessons about Covid and care strategies are improving.  In the early days of the pandemic, if you were hospitalized, you had a 20% chance of dying.  Today, if you are hospitalized the mortality rate has lowered to 5%.  It’s inspiring how fast care providers have elevated their abilities.What have you learned from your pandemic experience?  What’s worked well in caring for your family during these challenging times?  How have you best communicated at work?  How have you supported your colleagues?  Now is the time to double down on the best practices you’ve discovered for leading through the unknown of pandemic times.
  2. Right-size your expectations.  So much of the pain of pandemic life has been found in the surprise cancellations of travel, sports, family time, and fun gatherings.  While we are better off with the knowledge and experience we’ve built, some of the activities we enjoyed in the summer and early fall might have to pause for now.  Plan for safe ways to celebrate the holidays.  Prepare for how you’ll get critical work done on the job if local regulations around time in the office or your community’s stay at home policies temporarily roll back to where they were earlier in the pandemic.
  3. Find your joy.  With many of our reward systems unavailable to us (think concerts, games, and nights out on the town), hold yourself accountable to experiencing joy and good times in safe ways.  Time in nature, a new book or show, a special home-cooked meal, or maybe even a return of the Zoom happy hour, could be just the fun you need to strengthen your pandemic endurance.

We’ve made it this far.  The more we lead, anticipate, and shift our behavior to respond to what we are experiencing, the sooner we’ll be able to celebrate the end of the pandemic.

Share: | Tags: Accountability, Leadership Behaviors, Pandemic