How Would You Have Handled COVID-19 Differently? By Guest Contributor Ken Baker, Enterprise Risk Consulting

A lessons-learned exercise can help you better prepare for future waves of COVID-19 and the new world to come.

They say hindsight is 20-20.

As a former municipal employee, I have a lot of empathy for municipal administrators and elected officials during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public administration is always a challenge, but this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime disruption has blown carefully crafted plans and strategies out of the water. Where we once looked to growth and prosperity as goals, we’re now looking to solvency and survival.

But in crisis, as the saying goes, also comes opportunity. As we navigate through the next waves of the pandemic, it would profit us to look back and see how we’ve responded to date. As another adage tells us, never let a good crisis go to waste. We have an opportunity now to look back on what we’ve done, what worked well and what didn’t, and what’s changed for the future.

This type of ‘lessons learned’ analysis will be useful as we enter subsequent waves of the pandemic. Such analyses can show the pinch points discovered in revenue and expenses, what types of support are provided and required from other levels of government, and how your strategic plans have been affected. The world looks different now, and these exercises can help show what has changed and what to look for going forward. How has your revenue base been altered by changes in property values and business closures? What expenses have changed? Where did you have to cut costs? What facilities did you have to close? What additional costs did you incur to remain COVID-compliant? What do your updated forecasts look like?

To make sense of the situation, many organizations are looking to hold facilitated workshops, to look formally at their reaction to the pandemic, and what can be improved in future emergency responses. If necessary, an objective outside facilitator can lead workshops with leadership in a no-fault fact-finding exercise. These workshops are not about pointing fingers; they are a safe place to discuss your organization’s response and how it can be improved for next time.

Now for the opportunity part. How has the pandemic shown us ways to do things better? Are there processes we stopped that we don’t really miss? Can we take advantage of this opportunity to make our communities more resilient to disruption, more socially harmonious, and more environmentally sustainable? The lessons-learned exercise can help show where we are and how we got there, to show the way to where we want to go.

Best of luck to all and stay safe!

Contact info: Ken Baker, Principal, Enterprise Risk Consulting. Phone 780-721-3811, email website Facebook page @ERCYEG, LinkedIn Twitter @ERMKen.