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What’s Your “Parking Lot Wedding” In This Time Of Crisis?

Impact & Advocacy , Events & Programs , Local Stories , Chamber Updates
May 01 2020

Last weekend, my wife and I had the good fortune of going to a wedding. It had been planned for more than a year. It was always going to be a celebration of love between two wonderful people, excited about their future. And, they were determined not to let the virus derail their plans.

So, the couple and their families sat down and did some scenario planning.  And through that process innovation reemerged which resulted in a wonderful “parking lot wedding” with people in their cars, tuned to a closed circuit radio station, witnessing the ceremony, watching the couple take their first dance and honking our horns to celebrate. Getting a slice of wedding cake as we exited the parking lot only solidified the joy of the moment.

The whole experience got me thinking….What’s your “parking lot wedding” in this time of crisis?

How are your plans being made to ensure you can adjust as science, public health, recommended protocols, legal guidance and, of course, the economy evolve to our new normal? 

Fact is, never before in our lifetimes has the concept of “scenario planning” been more prevalent or more important.

Whether it be for you, your family, your business or even our community, the intentionality of planning for “what if?...” has never been more critical. “If this, then that;” “if that, then this;” goes on and on in our thinking as we try to chart our future course at home, in the office, and in our lives.

We are seven weeks into this pandemic and while each day may bring about some new answers; each day also seems to invite new questions. Those answers and those questions impact our plans, our lives. They cancel family vacations, they postpone a milestone birthday celebration, they cause you to course correct your business and, as much as anything, they likely leave you longing for clarity.

Scenario planning can help provide that clarity, at least in knowing that you’re prepared; that you have a path for how to react and adjust to the circumstance of the moment.

Scenario planning is a key element in the Lancaster County Economic Recovery Plan that we launched last week in partnership with the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County (I specifically want to thank Lisa Riggs, President of EDC, for her role in crafting the Plan). The Plan is specifically designed to assess all of our opportunities for re-opening the economy and mobilizing federal, state and local resources; it’s designed to ensure we are “ready to go” at the moment we’re able (that floating, magical date for re-opening being one of the largest drivers and frustrations in scenario planning at the moment) and it’s designed to make sure all options for public health mitigation are considered and ready to be implemented as science, guidelines, and resources allow.

Obviously, the Plan has many moving parts, but thanks to scenario planning it is built for that. And thanks to the tremendous volunteers and partners that have agreed to help craft it, we are confident the process is taking all factors of our economy into account.

Yet, more than just ensuring we are prepared, we also believe this planning process can drive tremendous innovation, hope and excitement for the future.  It is certainly not meant for just playing defense. 

With scenario planning, you find a way to make lemonade out of lemons (a phrase I find myself using a lot these days); you recognize strengths in your team, your business model, your customers and, yes, in yourself that you never knew existed; and you can come to fully appreciate what you have, inclusive of a wonderful community of caring people that care about our County’s future. 

So, again, I ask, “What is your ‘parking-lot-wedding’ in this time of crisis?”  Or, simply stated, How are you preparing for the future?

It’s the question all businesses are facing today and it is certainly stressful to try to set a course into the unknown.  Yet, it can also be inspiring and invigorating and, in fact, calming. Because assessing what you know, what’s within your control and what opportunities exist for your future can give you a path, hope and the fortitude to know you can get through this.

And, as always, I have to add that the Lancaster Chamber is here to help. 

This week, we sent a letter to the Governor asking for clarification regarding the “region” we were placed in for re-opening (link to the letter); we hosted numerous sessions on the Economic Recovery Plan with our partners at EDC; and, in fully living into our new normal, we hosted our first virtual networking event, Coffee with Young Professionals Network (YPN) and a host of webinars on timely topics of the day.

Just today, we launched our 2020 Wage & Benefit Survey which includes questions specific to the Coronavirus’ impact on your workplace; next week we are offering virtual events and webinars like Selling In Uncertain Times and Practical Workplace Considerations to help get you prepared for re-opening; and we will continue to work with EDC and an amazing group of volunteers to advance the content of the Economic Recovery Plan.

We know you’re doing your best to plan for the future.  And we know it’s tough given the uncertainties and evolving nature of the virus.  The Chamber is committed to getting you answers, the Chamber is committed to providing solutions and the Chamber is most appreciative of your ongoing support.

Finally, as you lean in and deal with all the uncertainty around you, let me offer you a few things that are constant and don’t require any planning or course correction.  Wash your hands, practice social distancing, wear a mask in public, get sleep, eat right. And be safe. 

Those are givens. Just like the fact that we are in this together and we will all get through this together.

With Resolve,

Tom Baldrige, President and CEO of the Lancaster Chamber

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