Floating in the sea with nothing to cling to. That’s very much how it feels. I know I have to do something, but there’s nothing to grab, no-one to ask let alone knowing what the right questions are. At night in my dreams I am metaphorically calling in the middle of the ocean with little chance of anyone answering.
When I awake, like all of us, I am bombarded anew by many of the horrors of this current situation – we are all exposed to it in different measures. My anchor is found in action. It always has been. What’s most different is the need to ‘do’ in such a vacuum of uncertainty. However, I’ve concluded that waiting isn’t going to deliver a great deal more certainty. In fact waiting is quite likely to result in our demise. So ‘doing’ is the way forward. Below are some insights into our version of re-starting and ‘doing’ during and post-Covid19.
1. If there was any certainty early on it was that a) there was no place for pride and b) we were to be physically distanced for some time.
2) To act on the first certainty meant asking for help, asking for donations and being honest about our vulnerability as a tiny social enterprise. This monumentally paid off with being one of the first out of the blocks with a crowdfunding campaign. The money it raised was modest, the attention it grabbed, less so.
3) Acting on the second certainty, meant virtual delivery was a non-negotiable and this was what we could seek income for. Within a week we forged ahead with this. Thanks to work with The Carnegie Trust on digital exclusion, we were able to do this whilst holding close the awareness of the barriers people face to getting online.
4) Not losing sight of our mission and values. This has been vital as we appraise the relationship between our mission and the route to achieving it. We have been clear in getting off the fence and remain utterly committed to face to face delivery – no one size ever fits all.
5) Listening, engaging and embracing the opportunities to be part of national networks of expertise and conversation. This enables us to consider the economic landscape, government priorities and opportunities to keep delivering on our mission – albeit in new ways.
6) Keeping a log of learning. On everything we have developed, delivered or done different in the last nine weeks, we have kept a log. This way we are able in the coming weeks to conclude strategically what we keep (and modify), what we pause, what we prioritise anew, what we ditch and what we don’t know.
7) All of this is now in a three-phase timeline. We have a Plan A through to end of August. Plan B will take us to the end of the financial year. It is my hope that in January 2021 we will have enough information to deliver a coherent Plan C for April 21-22.
All the usual caveats apply to this ‘plan’, but in truth it’s little different to any forecasting in a small business – it’s subject to change.