In 2020 we have been battered by the Coronavirus health crisis, economic challenges of the recession, civil disturbances & riots in many cities. And now wild fires and storms across the United States. No wonder we see so many of the old institutions we used to count on now failing us. It’s been a rough year. They have been hammered by crisis after crisis. Many of these organizations are in paralysis and thus completely ineffective.
I think the reason for this is that we’ve had it so good for so long. Many of us have just gotten too accustomed to good times. Ie. peacetime. We’ve had economic good times, a full job market and overall prosperity for almost 10 years. It’s not a surprise that many of us have gotten soft. And the people at the top of many of our business & governmental organizations have gotten complacent. As the great African proverb says “Smooth seas do not make for skillful sailors.”
But something about a crisis brings out the best (and the worst of us). It’s a shock to the system and wake up call. A crisis calls for us to wake up and take action and fix all the things we should have but did not. It also calls forth a new kind of leadership to step up and take the lead. We would not have Winston Churchill who was ignored during peacetime. But was exactly the right leader at the right time for World War 2 and helped lead the Allies to victory (and was very quickly shelved when the war ended).
We are seeing this slowly happen in many startups, business organizations and even now in some local governments and states. This is what makes me hopeful that despite the painful year we’ve faced in 2020, something good will come out of this. That many of us will have rediscovered & prioritized our values and relationships. And at a minimum we’ll have toughened up to prepare for the next crisis.