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Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Start Building a Better World

The current ‘Great Pause’ we’re experiencing means that we have the time to identify, create and pursue opportunities we had never before imagined.

Creating a better normal Illustration courtesy of Shutterstock

The strength of the recent article, “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting,” by Julio Vincent Gambuto lies in its last two paragraphs. We are not suggesting that you jump to the end. We have read the whole piece and are now here considering what is missing; we ask that you might do the same. Our initial thinking on this is: We have the ability to adapt, to change and improve, and lately, we have had the time. 

The “Great Pause” that we are all experiencing due to current circumstances will allow us to identify, create and pursue a myriad of opportunities that we had never before imagined. For some, this new reality may be financially sufficient and preferable to the old ways of doing things—enabling us to work from home, spend more time with family, engage in new pursuits and pastimes and spend less of our increasingly scarce income on eating out and entertainment. As we forego our previously typical activities, we must not lose sight of our newly acquired perceptions that will enable us to give back in a sustained way, not just now in this crisis but post-COVID-19 for a better new normal.

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This once-in-a-lifetime event will create opportunities for each of us to be leaders in our own way. Each of us can make leadership decisions about the changes we want to see after this crisis. Can we contribute to a global sharing economy, for ourselves and in society? Not a “return to normal”—but instead a return to a “Better Normal.” Can businesses pivot from prior practices by re-tasking existing activities and skills from declining (non-essential) industries to more socially beneficial ones?

We see this global crisis as an opportunity to create the Better Normal. It remains to be seen if the good acts, the stepping up to help and the positive majority of the leadership that we are seeing will sustain and effect systemic change. Will there be enough pressure put on all leaders (business leaders and political leaders) to promote and endorse a more thoughtful, inclusive stakeholder-focused approach to decision making?

On an individual level, we hope the crisis leads to a change in thinking: “We is better than me.”

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The previously mentioned article’s final two paragraphs are well-intentioned but non-specific. If we are hoping to effect change during, and after, this momentous shift in our society, then we need to speak and act with specificity.

Accordingly, we make this call to action. Consider the following (yours might be different):

  • Vote for change—support the candidates who support the values and missions that you feel will carry your organization, community, state and country toward this Better Normal.
  • Decide how you are going to make your investment (time, not necessarily money) in yourself and in others.
  • Learn to practice intelligent spending—if you can, buy local, durable (not disposable) and environmentally responsible.
  • Invest in education and upskilling—learn or get better at doing something marketable. Brush up on a new software or immerse yourself in a creative or technical pursuit that can advance or compliment your current responsibilities.

The commitment to our current investment in society must continue. Volunteer work can be a routine part of our society. Support for community can be a way of life. We can turn the reality of this COVID-19 Great Pause into an opportunity for a post-COVID-19 Better Normal.

Alison Gross is a New York City-based communications professional with experience in financial services and retail sectors. David Zweighaft CPA, CFE is a forensic accountant and frequent speaker and author on the subjects of ethics and corporate governance, risk management, fraud and forensic investigations.

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