This article originally appeared on SMPS Boston’s website.
by Ken Lambert
As I write this today for SMPS there are many reports, projections, and timetables for how our Massachusetts economy will look after the COVID-19 crisis has passed. Many seem to be a quasi-doomsday scenario, but I wonder how many of those articles are swayed by politics and/or a need to attract website visitors and readers by an apocalyptic headline? What might the truth be? More importantly, how do we help get to the best outcome possible for ourselves, our companies, and the AEC market?
Luckily, here in Greater Boston, we began this crisis with a stellar economy. Remember January and February: the good old days? Take a glimpse at my article from October 2019 on the value we have here in and around Boston here.
I think even in the Boston area most of the experts are saying that the local economy will not just take off and quickly be at pre-COVID levels. Some of that is just because the State or some municipalities will not legally allow certain businesses to open and/or open at 100% capacity. Thus by default, our economy and general consumerism won’t be able to get back to 90-100% in the coming few months. But more than that, unfortunately there will be a residual effect either with some people losing their jobs and/or a percentage of folks just being skittish in re-engaging with “normal” life and activities (and spending).
So if the remainder of 2020 at best will be at 75-80% of our 2013-2019 economy, we will all need to reach deep within, work harder, and also maintain a healthy and optimistic attitude. In short, we will need both grit and hope to be successful.
“Grit” is easy to understand; it is the less technical term which is the marriage of work ethic + perseverance. Perhaps for some of us, the past few years have been relatively “easy.” Projects and opportunities came to us without an exorbitant amount of effort. If that might describe your circumstances, a reevaluation might be needed soon.
That gets us to “hope.” I will have to get into a psychology detour here, which I trust will be useful. After all, half of marketing and sales is based on psychology.
In a true business (and tactical) sense, hope is not important and can, in fact, be detrimental to accomplishing a strategic goal. At a recent sales seminar I went to, one of my favorite quotes they taught us was “Hope is not a strategy.” I love that line, and there is plenty of truth in that. Hope doesn’t make up for planning, or research, or follow-up. Or effort.
However, on a personal and direct level- especially as we all come out of a disturbing and stressful time- hope is absolutely essential. Here are a few quotes that should illustrate this better:
“The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.” – Norman Cousins (American essayist and editor, active from 1942-1980)
“It’s a good place when all you have is hope and not expectations.” – Danny Boyle (famous British movie director and producer)
“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” – Martin Luther
Individually, we all need hope. We have to internally have a belief that our actions and hard work will lead to better days and new projects, new awards, and new successes. Hope is not a strategy; hope is a prerequisite.
So, will grit and hope lead us to a rewarding post-COVID economy? Time will tell, but I believe those are two key ingredients as we prepare for what lies ahead.
Ken Lambert is a director of industry development and technical services at the International Masonry Institute.