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Pandemic: Opportunity for Improvement

By Bob Harris, CAE and Arturo Mariani, Author

There are hundreds of stories about organizational and personal improvement during the pandemic.   People are sharing ways they are adapting.  

Organizational Improvement

Many of the changes have positive, long term impact.  The adaptations are necessary or organic to survive, sustain, and thrive.

For example, what used to be a day-long board meeting requiring hours of travel, is being replaced by a video conference.   Groups that shied away from on-line technology are rethinking the concept, realizing governance decisions can be made without the expenses of in-person meetings, meals, and travel.

Regarding staffing after the government closed offices, employees and their bosses might have thought working remotely would not work.   At first it was awkward without guidelines and technology.  Now it is being embraced to save time, be effective and add quality of life without the hassles and costs of commuting.   Could it be the new normal?

At the  Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS®, in California, CEO Wyndi Austin, CEO,  said that employees have been able to collaborate and complete projects that often were set aside by the urgencies of the day when they worked in the office.

Associations are platforms for sharing concerns and learning how others are surviving.    The Colorado Society of Association Executives transformed its May membership luncheon to an online forum, including break out groups.

The meeting was an hour of questions and encouragement.  For instance, while some associations were thinking of foregoing dues billing for a year, others explained how they had become indispensable to members and recruitment was up.

Organizations are improving by evaluating activities, transforming events, and creating new services for members. 

Personal Improvement

For individuals, do not let the crisis paralyze you. Be proactive instead of waiting for the situation to pass.  Many executives have kept blogs or written about how the pandemic has affected them.

Anastasia Baklan, a communications specialist at the Center for International Private Enterprise office in Ukraine, wrote about five ways the pandemic has changed life for the better.   Among them, development of women in business, increased use of technology for learning, and personal development.

Some people suppress their thoughts instead sharing.  They might think they are alone, or nobody else will care. During social distancing and isolation, communication can be a real gift. 

Do not stifle sharing for fear of the reactions.   What you share can enrich others, offering solutions and help.  Knowing how others are coping can have a powerful positive impact.  

By sharing and writing we lighten our own fears.   All people need opportunities to express themselves. Many are fearful of taking the first step of sharing their experiences.

Receiving knowledge enhances personal understanding and self-confidence. The reader opens themself to new ideas. 

The pandemic may be a good time for making improvements.   Through sharing, blogging, writing, and reading, the possibilities expand.  You have the power to give others encouragement through this difficult time.

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before,” said Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel. 

This moment teaches us about sharing and adapting. We also realize what is beyond our reach, such as grief, economy, and pandemic.  

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Note: Bob Harris, CAE, provides free governance tips and templates at   Arturo Mariani is a speaker, author, athlete and life coach in Rome, Italy.  He can be contacted at