Kevin D. Hancock


Seeing The Deeper Lessons of Coronavirus

Mar 19, 2020 by Kevin D Hancock
Recently, I was asked to write an essay about the possible long-term learnings for humanity from coronavirus.  I did so.  It got published yesterday by Thrive Global – an amazing organization that I would encourage all of you to check out! I wanted to share that essay here with you as well. 

Seeing The Deeper Lessons of Coronavirus: Insights and learnings from Coronavirus.
While it’s difficult to write about a situation that is highly fluid, I do believe that certain themes are emerging with respect to Coronavirus that carry important messages for the future.

First, regarding mitigation and prevention of spread, it is clear that this is a task that must involve everyone.  My passion with respect to leadership is power dispersal and the creation of a work culture that includes and respects all voices.  Our company has 525 employees working across 14 sites.  Those sites are manufacturing facilities and product distribution centers.  While some work can be done remotely, for us to operate a meaningful percentage of our team must be on site. 

I have been inspired to see the collective work of our employees in recent days as they develop and implement localized ways to stay clean, stay spaced, and stay strong.  Each site team is developing its own systems to fit its own unique circumstance united by a shared set of values.  Command and control bureaucracy is too slow, too generalized, and to limiting.  Local leadership is faster, form fit, and dynamic in ways that cannot be pushed down from the top. 

While the current focus must remain on the essentials of virus prevention and slowing the spread here and now, it’s hard not to begin to contemplate the long-term consequences and learnings that Coronavirus offers.  For me, three modern truths that have been on my mind for some time are being accentuated.

First, humanity is no longer a collection of independent and isolated local tribes.  Humanities largest challenges and opportunities are global – what effects one now effects all.  As a result, winning is only winning if it benefits everyone.  But as a planet of traditionally divided humans we are not yet prepared for this new reality, and it shows.  Our governing systems are still tribal and local.  Under duress, we revert to nationalism with its false allure of safety.  But there is no future in isolation because there is no ability to isolate.  Coronavirus reinforces this.  Today we need global systems but this requires local and national leaders to do something leaders traditional hate to do – transcend their past grievances, share power, and collaborate.  Click here to read the complete article on the Thrive Global site