June 29, 2020

Thriving Post COVID in Business and in Life

I’ve been rightfully accused by my wife and daughter of not always being able to separate work from home. As I’ve learned new concepts to help Kenway colleagues and / or our clients, many times I have also applied them to the other important organization in my life – our family. While I understand it can get old at times for my wife and daughter, I believe that we also benefit more often than not.

The latest example of this work / life overlap resulted from sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the reality of COVID hit in mid-March, Kenway, like most companies, immediately documented and implemented our Business Defense Plan. The plan had many components but, to simplify it and create a rallying cry of sorts, we started referring to our progression through the plan as Survive, Pivot and Thrive.

The Survive phase of the plan first dealt with our top priority, which was (and still is) to preserve the health of our employees and clients. We aligned to CDC health guidelines and started remote work immediately. We also had a robust communication plan to make sure our employees remained informed of the rapidly changing environment in which we were living and working. This section of the plan also involved modeling our risk exposure and planning liquidity preservation tactics. As the saying goes, we had to plan for the worst while also hoping for the best.

At home, the Survive components of our Defense Plan also first involved ensuring our health. We immediately ordered large amounts of soap, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves. We have a very active and athletic 10-year-old daughter, so the next part of survival involved preparing our small back yard for months of playing and practicing soccer and basketball at home. In her infinite wisdom, my wife immediately ordered a basketball hoop and soccer goals, which have provided many hours of enjoyment and relief from e-learning.

By the end of April, we hit a remote work stride both “at work” and at home. While we would have preferred to be “open” with both youth sports and Kenway business back to normal, at least we had learned a lot about the virus and its impact on our personal and professional matters, and new information was coming in at a much more manageable pace. It was time to Pivot and plan to Thrive.

At Kenway, the Thrive phase of our Business Defense Plan had three main pillars: increase staffing versatility through intensive training on tools and skills that we know will be in high demand as the economy continues to open safely; create new revenue streams through strategic implementation partnerships; and develop and market a software product. Historically, we had not invested heavily in these opportunities, but with significantly higher excess capacity than ever before, it was critical to view this time as an asset to improve future performance.

At home, Thriving meant to use our time normally spent commuting to and from work and sporting events to get healthier, but our daughter took it to a whole new level. She set stretch goals to be able to make proper off-hand layups, and to set a personal soccer juggling record. I’m happy to say that she is nailing her left-hand layups, nearing 2000 juggles (and then some) as you can see in this video.

The last four months have no doubt been tough on everybody, but everywhere I look I’m inspired by people and companies taking lemons and making lemonade. I could not be prouder of my daughter or my Kenway colleagues for applying themselves so vigorously to grow and improve while also figuring out how to productively work from home. As I type, I see signs of both sports and business coming back, and the individual improvements we’ve made will very soon help our teams and companies win again.

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