A few days ago, I put my 21-year old son on an airplane back to school. He attends the US Coast Guard Academy and they have summer training. He’s been home for the past 3 months, finishing the semester via online work, like every other college student across the globe. I wondered what advice I could provide him as we headed to the airport. I sense, based on how his school functions, that we may not see him again until Christmas, and I wanted to make sure he had something to help him when things occur that are difficult to comprehend. The future is in much smaller increments for young people – a month seems like a long, long time or at least it did when I was 21. At my age, a month flies by in what can feel like an instant.
The only advice I thought would really resonate is the same advice I’ve been giving to my colleagues and staff, to customers, and even to myself in the last several weeks…we must be willing to re-think how and why we do the things we do. The ability to adapt has never been more necessary than it is today. The interesting thing is human beings are created with an innate ability to evolve. We have all found ways to constantly change to meet new needs or demands placed on us. We’ve learned to walk erect, make fire, build machines, etc. through thousands and thousands of years of evolution. Necessity truly is the mother of invention, and invention is simply a form of adaptation. While it may seem unnatural right now, or even invasive, what we are dealing with is actually just a much stronger impetus to change than we are used. There are always reasons for us to adapt, all around us, every day – COVID-19 is frankly more furtive than most.
We are re-thinking our approach to everything at Picis. We need to ask the questions that perhaps should have been asked before but were never as front and center as they are now. What tasks can we do remotely that we never considered doing before? Why do we feel compelled to do things a certain way when we are proving that there are new ways to get things done – some of them actually less of a burden on customers and staff? What can we do now, while we are limited in our ability to travel onsite, to make future implementations easier and more efficient for customers? How can we deliver the highest quality products and services while still providing the utmost safety for everyone?
These are the questions we are asking each other and ourselves. Curiosity is a skill and like any skill, it needs to be practiced. Perhaps we are just out of practice because we have been so myopically focused on task accomplishment. I can honestly admit that I am excited about the learning we can gain from asking these questions and being curious. My hope is that we continue to be curious and willing to adapt, especially when circumstances don’t force us to. Flexibility is a sign of maturity – but that’s a piece of advice I gave my son when he was 13.
-Marcus Perez, EVP