There have been many comparisons of the COVID pandemic to the Spanish Flu of 1918 and certainly, our ability to function during these times is much greater than it was then. But take a moment to also consider the technological and infrastructure improvements that have occurred as recently as the past decade.

If we had been asked to shelter-in-place even a few years ago, it would have exacted a much greater toll than it is now. Think of all the underlying systems that were in place before COVID that have enhanced our ability to carry on while still sheltering in place:

  • Many homes already had computers with cameras, internet access, cloud drives for documents, scanners, etc. that provided the infrastructure to allow working from home to be possible
  • Amazon had the inventory and ability to deliver almost anything to your door
  • UPS and FedEx have warehouses, staff, planes and trucks to make those deliveries possible
  • Grubhub, DoorDash and many other systems were already in place to deliver from restaurants and many groceries already offered delivery services
  • Zoom and services like Facebook Live made working, schooling or attending church services from home accessible to anyone with a computer and internet
  • Online learning systems like Moodle or Canvas were already in place even for those in face-to-face instruction, long before they became the base for remote college courses
  • Many stores had already developed systems to allow for online ordering and drive-thru pickup
  • Libraries had contracts to allow online access to books, movies and magazines
  • Streaming allowed almost limitless access to enough entertainment to last through the pandemic
  • Much of banking was already conducted online and through mobile deposits
  • Telemedicine systems were already developed and available
  • Uber and Lyft could provide transportation when public transportation was reduced
  • And, of course, the power grid and bandwidth expansions that allow all our technology to run

Infrastructure isn’t sexy but it is the backbone of our ability to create and function effectively. From roads and bridges to the internet and cloud, tending to the underlying systems that make our work possible needs to remain a priority rather than an afterthought.

What other systems are you using today that have become an invisible part of your life’s fabric? Never take any of them for granted.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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