March 12th 6:30am I boarded a plane after a great week in the GTA and Ottawa.  And although it had already been weeks since COVID-19 had shown up in Canada, I remember feeling accomplished about the trip and appreciative of the terrific people I had met for the first time and wonderful people & businesses that are already part of our eco-system.  I landed in Edmonton later that morning greeted with a warm welcome and the day went on as normal from there. 

As far as I could recollect with H1N1, MERS & Ebola, the world and local governments had reacted swiftly, contained and limited the spread with great efficiency.  As the day progressed and weekend dawned, it was clear that this was going to be different. It felt like I went to bed Friday with our country in containment and system management mode and I woke up Saturday to find someone pulled a pin on a grenade and then a boom – lock down, or at least the start of what was to become a shut down of our normal everyday life.  It was a literal reality check. Gyms, rec centres, schools closed.  Social distancing, store shelves empty and so many more regular daily luxuries that we took for granted …gone.

From a business point of view, my MO is usually nothing is a problem, until it is a problem.  Once it is a problem, we find a solution. 

The rate at which decisions were being made certainly made me uncomfortable.  The world hit the pause button on almost everything. Everyday life was disrupted, working and manufacturing slowed or ceased all together. The reality of the situation was clear; like it or not we are all in this for the long haul, however long that is.  

I sat for a few days taking in the scope, gravity and implications of shutting down the economy and our social institutions.  After working through my processes, I settled on the idea that we will view this time as a gift, as an opportunity to connect more deeply with our communities and clients, to improve our business, and work on new projects and ideas. We will be better on the other side of this. Whether you agree with the decisions being made or not doesn’t matter, regardless of your thoughts and position, the quicker we get things under control, the quicker we get back to normal.What will normal be after COVID-19? I guess we will see.

To conclude on a positive note, when humans stopped moving, Airborne nitrogen dioxide & carbon dioxide dropped significantly over China, news of the canals in Venice clearing up and air pollution decreasing in Italy circulated, and stories of communities finding ways to help the vulnerable, show that when we pause good things can happen. All the best to you all.