In a previous life, I was an outdoor educator and commercial river guide. The role involved teaching potential rafting guides the basics of the craft. They were wonderful days in wonderful environments and mostly, with wonderful people.
After basic river craft theory, we would start the practical learning on class 2 moving water; a low-grade classification, where class 1 is barely more than moving bath water and class 6 is where you do not want to be, even as a professional! Students would soon learn that “technical” water meant rapids requiring forethought and manoeuvrability, even on low-grade rapids.
Without fail, (and essential to the learning process), the newcomers to the art of rafting would get caught up on a rock or two in the middle of their first rapids. Also without fail, their first and often frantic reaction would be to try to free the raft by whatever means possible as quickly as possible, perhaps to avoid witnesses and embarrassment! As an instructor, I would ask them to stop and consider two questions:
“Are we, or the raft, in immediate (or indeed, any) danger?” The answer being a resounding “no”.
“Have you looked downstream to plan your next moves and route once free of the current rocks?” Again, the now sheepish answer, was a “no!”
So what’s the point here? For many or most of us, the COVID-19 outbreak has ground business to a halt; we are stuck on a rock midstream, if you will. It is very tempting for us to leap into a reactive state as we are all new to this pandemic ‘game’. I believe that if we had an experienced ‘instructor’, they would counsel us to stop, breathe, look downstream and plan the next part of our journey before trying to free the raft. As leaders, I believe we are all capable of being our own ‘instructors’.
It is certain that there WILL be a recovery. Let’s take advantage of this pause to breathe, look downstream and plan. Once we are freed from the current ‘rocks’, those who will navigate the recovery successfully will have spent the time and energy during the current crisis in planning and preparing for that day.
As the ancients used to say, “This Too Shall Pass!” Happy rafting.
“Comment” is traditionally an unattributed opinion piece expressing the views of the Australian Deer Association as a whole.
These are exceptional times and this is an exception — ADA member Ron Jungawalla wrote this piece and we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Ron is an ADA member, an expert in the area of leadership and the founder of Quest Group Global.