August 23, 2021

“To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past. The prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust.”
-John F. Kennedy

The fall is an exciting time when kids go back to school, sports and other activities in the community and business are in full swing, and the economic cycle ramps up toward the holiday season. It is always a great time to take stock, but perhaps especially now. I’m guilty of this and perhaps some of you are as well – constantly comparing ourselves and our organizations, companies, and economy to 2019. This has limited utility and doesn’t serve us as we look forward.

What is required now is a hard assessment of our financial, workforce, social, cultural, and natural resources we have to build from. Being honest about what is coming back and what is not is one way to face the hard truths and set realistic goals. Pre-pandemic goals were sky high as resources were abundant and mobile. Our aspirations now require more thought as the workforce has been diminished, supply chains are less reliable, and each activity must be planned and budgeted for with multiple contingencies.

Does this mean that our aspirations should be set at a lower level? Absolutely not. Particularly in the U.S., the most powerful country in the world, our ambitions should be soaring.  After taking stock of all that we have and evaluating all the opportunities that have gone unfulfilled by past generations, I believe we have every opportunity to not only lift up our economy and our communities, but lift up others all over the world in the process. We are the only ones with the scale, the system, and the culture to do so.

This week, let’s start with ourselves, our teams, and either begin or finish a full assessment of “where we are.” Let’s get to work on real opportunities and the problems that stand in our way. As always, we would like to know where you think things stand. Your input is appreciated.

-Kenny McDonald