David Sussman, CEO, PFP | The Family Security Plan®
It would be incredibly insensitive and simply ridiculous to point towards a positive outcome as a result of a worldwide pandemic without acknowledging the devastation of life and livelihood. The entire planet has been ripped from its former path. We are left praying every day for health and a future that somehow returns normalcy to the unknown.
In the face of the catastrophic threat, we sheltered in place.
The family unit, formerly strewn across the country, came home to safety. We sent our businesses home to work, out of danger and away from personal contact. We no longer went to our places of worship to congregate and gather. We were closed off, closed in and closed down.
As the classic distance between us grew, however, a phenomenon happened that forever would shape our future. We communicated. We expressed ourselves. We invited more voices in and we heard things we never heard before.
This was the year I was supposed to be an empty nester. I was ready. With thoughtful planning, I was going to bring different experiences into my life. I was contemplating my bucket list and was set to begin. That was not meant to be. My empty house instantly became full again, in the most incredible way. My children are 20,22 and 25. They are adults who grew up together but have exceedingly different opinions. My home is now a melting pot of emotion and passion. Every dinner has been an inspired debate. Every meal turns our attention to a critical issue. Regardless of the heat produced by any topic, however, we all hang in there, get through it and learn from each other. We listen. While the rules of engagement are not delineated, somewhere along the way, we got it right. It is an impressive process, to say the least.
Business has changed forever as well.
Webex Meetings have taken the place of hallway-conversations. As CEO, my role is to foster communication among the entire company, including every stakeholder. I personally took the time to analyze the meetings I led and revised their goals, frequency and attendee list. I wanted to hear more voices, opinions and ideas. The Executive Leadership Team has been seeking opportunities to elevate others who represent our future. This was a perfect time to do that. The result eclipsed my expectations. The folks getting things done began stepping up. I see them. I hear them and I truly value the experience, work ethic and advice to the team. Without a doubt, the company is better off now than it was during the months and weeks preceding the lock down.
And how do we communicate with one another?
I am hearing more gratitude than I ever heard before. My company’s AVP of Human Resources schedules post-work WebEx socials for small groups throughout the month. She leads the conversations as many people find ways to laugh and show appreciation for that which is most important. I hear about their health, happiness, togetherness, family and good fortune. The values of each individual exude with every word. When we are done and the meeting has ended. I am inevitably left with the inspired and distinct feeling that “we have got this.” We are learning, growing and preparing for the day when we reopen. We have harnessed a skill once thought was lost with technology. We communicate!