Notes from the CEO- March 26, 2020

“We must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage… and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal.” – Teddy Roosevelt

I had fully intended my first blog post for 2020 to include a comprehensive list of the projects and initiatives your association is leading or connected with in these transformative times, all aligned with the pillars of our strategic plan:

  • Advocacy – Incompass Michigan has established a comprehensive legislative guide on our website, along with an online advocacy center
  • Innovation – The association has issued a Request for Proposals for Curriculum Development of a training program promoting a career pathway for Direct Support Professionals
  • Education – We have invested in a new online learning management system, implementing later this year, to significantly enhance our capacity to meet your organization’s staff development needs, delivered virtually and cost effectively
  • Leadership Development – later this year, we’ll be announcing the The Incompass Michigan Leadership Pathway, sustaining our Academy and Continuum, while introducing new programming for emerging leaders

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has re-established all our priorities, and certainly distilled the focus of the Incompass Michigan Team on one of our four Core Values: Loyalty – which to us means that we continuously remember who we work for (we work for you, our members); and that our lives outside the workplace are also respected and valued.

The association’s offices are essentially closed, with all staff working remotely, except permitted minimum basic operations.  But we remain on duty, and eager to serve as your trusted resource for getting connected and staying informed.  I could not be more proud of my team for their agility and commitment to service, and our collective response, allied with our members, in the face of this public health crisis.

First and foremost, we hope that you are well and taking care of yourselves, your loved ones, and to the best of your ability, your neighbors who may need a helping hand right now. As we find ourselves facing unknown times of need, we don’t take lightly the fact that Incompass Michigan members play a vital role in providing a critical safety net to some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.

The days ahead will continue to focus on response – navigating the complex roadway of competing sources of information and new policies and programming; the weeks ahead will transition to stabilization, as we assess and support the landscape of recovery; and the months ahead must focus beyond the pandemic to support individuals with disabilities and other barriers to forge a new and better future.  The members of this association will play a critical role in this process; we stand ready to serve at every step of the way.

As discussed in a recent Harvard Business Review article:

The coronavirus crisis, like every crisis, is unfolding over an arc of time with a beginning, middle, and end. It is useful to think what distinguishes what was, is, and will be. There was a past of relative stability and predictability. There now is chaos and disruption. There will be … a different state. As this future unfolds, some organizations will be resilient. For others, this future will be catastrophic. The actions of executives and their teams now, in the midst of this crisis, will significantly determine their fate.

Crises, replete with both complexity and change, require executives to both lead and manage effectively. Addressing the urgent needs of the present is the work of management. You need to make immediate choices and allocate resources. The pace is fast, and actions are decisive.

Your focus needs to be on what is likely to come next and readying to meet it. That means seeing beyond the immediate to anticipate the next three, four, or five obstacles.

Incompass Michigan seeks to support our members relentlessly, also supporting each other, leading to the best possible outcome over this unexpectedly altered trajectory of time.  Each of these steps will be driven by our values – what Roosevelt called “lofty ideals” – integrity, persistence, loyalty, collaboration.

Helping now, in chaos; navigating to stability as we support people and organizations in recovery; and reaching for a new vision of what optimal independence and engagement in the community means after we emerge from the cauldron of this crisis.

We will get through this – together.  Be well, and let me know how Incompass Michigan can help.