Leadership Blog

Are Your Kids in School or Doing Online Learning? Leverage Your Corporate Superpowers to Get Through the Confusion!

Well, that happened. And as a mom, I’m still trying to figure it all out.

First, the kids weren’t going back to school in person. Then they were online. Then they were in the classroom, but with rigorous weekly testing (at least for older students).

If you’re a parent like me, your head has probably been spinning nonstop for almost two years, too. Even though both my daughters are vaccinated, I still feel like we’re not yet out of the woods. Trying to figure everything out is complex and stressful.

Here’s the truth, though: I think that I’ve pinpointed one way to take the sting and confusion out of everyday life. What’s my secret? I’ve started to find similarities between running a business and running a household with kids during the pandemic. And those similarities are helping me navigate the unknown with a little less anxiety. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. The vaccination process mirrors the new product development processes.

When our company wants to develop a new cleaning formula, we base the formula on what we already know. We don’t start from scratch; that would be time-consuming and wasteful. Instead, we base fresh concepts on what works. From there, we test and tweak.

I look at vaccines the same way. The kids get a flu vaccine every year on top of their other yearly vaccines. Although the COVID-19 vaccine is newer, the process and technology used to make it wasn’t — much like Jelmar’s new formulas. This makes me feel confident that we’re on the right path and don’t need to be fearful.

2. Communication is the key to avoiding potentially uncomfortable situations.

I believe that kids should be kids as much as they can. That means getting them together with their friends — safely, of course. So I talk to other parents. I tell them we’re vaccinated. I speak with them about their home life. I’m honest about everything from expectations to worries; I appreciate when they’re honest in return. As a result, my children have had some marvelous experiences with peers during the pandemic.

My belief in complete communication and transparency stems from my journey from a salesperson to CEO. My team knows that I value when they communicate their opinions and input to me. I might disagree, but never disrespectfully. Openness will help us all feel better as we move toward whatever the new normal looks like.

3. Hybrid lifestyles might be here to stay.

A lot of people are talking about hybrid workforces. Certainly, our team is still on a hybrid schedule. We were going to move back to the office in September 2021, but it didn’t happen. Sometimes we do meet up there — with everyone wearing masks — but we’re mostly telecommuting to keep social distancing in place.

Right now, my girls are in school. However, that could change at a moment’s notice. Cold and flu season is upon us. Learning might go virtual again. I’ve decided that we all have to be OK with that. Would we all rather be in person, including students, teachers, and workers? Of course. Face-to-face meetings are far better than virtual ones. You get body language, movement, and spontaneity. You draw off everyone’s energy. It’s fun. Yet it’s not always practical, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

I have no way of knowing what life will bring over the coming months. My guess is that it will involve even more reflection and change. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Who knows? It might even inspire stronger family and company bonds.

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