“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Shocking! Unbelievable! Hard to comprehend what has happened in the last few weeks. Everyone reading this message today is being impacted in multiple ways by the coronavirus crisis. In the midst of this enormous challenge, fear and uncertainty is common. Not surprisingly, some panic exists. Rumors circulate. When thinking about past tough business and personal challenges, I find current reality completely different—more complicated and worrisome. Yet, I remain hopeful. History may offer some guidance on how to influence our future.
Leadership is the solution.
A great number of our country’s citizens will be inflicted by the coronavirus. How many will be infected is going to be decided by each of us collectively. At this point, an acceptable future—not even one we would desire—would be minimizing the number of people who die from this infectious disease. There have been and will be more deaths.
If there was ever a time in our country when we need leadership, today is that time. Not just at a government level, which we expect, but also in organizations and small groups. Perhaps, the most important leadership that we practice today occurs in the most powerful small group…the family. All of us interact daily with other family members.
As leaders in our families, what can and should we do? Create a strategy. Communicate it to other family members. Commit to a system and follow it. Here is my personal coronavirus strategy:
Protect the most vulnerable. Countless experts have identified the vulnerable group. It includes individuals over 60 years old and those with underlying health conditions. See the CDC for detailed information. Identify in your family the individuals who are in this vulnerable group. Make sure that all interactions with these relatives minimize any chance for transmitting this disease. Every at-risk individual who is properly protected from this disease will increase the opportunity for one more ICU bed in a hospital for someone who may need medical assistance for survival. And, the experts are telling us the hospitals are going to be filled with patients.
If less vulnerable Americans do not get this disease, our death rate will be much lower, our hospitals will have greater capacity to provide great care for those needing help, and our country will get through this crisis successfully.
Be disciplined. If you are able to protect yourself from catching this disease, you are making a huge contribution to our country’s effort while supporting the health of your family and friends. For those under 60 without a medical condition, which is a majority of Americans, you have the most important mission. Many of you are working in jobs. Many of you may be involved in multiple social situations. The chance of you dying from this disease is very remote. Your responsibility is less about your own life and more about the others who could be impacted. Already, there are examples in our country where one person spread the disease to many other individuals. If you are in the younger healthy group, today you can save the life of others by being disciplined in your daily activities. Follow the guidelines of the CDC. Practice social distancing with everyone. Be extra careful around the vulnerable.
Pray. Pray daily for those in leadership roles to have the wisdom to do what is needed and right. At the toughest moments in life is when we often become more prayerful. As a country, this is one of those times. Pray often.
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Don’t panic. Avoid rumors. A calm voice matters. Make good decisions based on science and facts. The utmost risk is to the vulnerable. Protect them.
America is the greatest country in the history of this world. We have conquered every challenge we have ever faced. We can defeat this one. We will need everyone.
Time is important. Don’t wait. Act today. Identify and implement now a coronavirus strategy for your family.
Protect the vulnerable.