Actions in a Moment of Crisis

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H. Kit Miyamoto, Ph.D., S.E.

100 percent of us are going through monumental challenges and changes in our lives now due to COVID-19. Some challenges are personal, some are business, others are financial. All of these challenges were totally unexpected to all of us. We all know changes in our lives are inevitable. We sometimes get into a comfort zone in our lives and want to remain there.  But unfortunately, or fortunately, it is not possible to stay the same. A crisis puts us out of our comfort zone and makes us move forward.

Just like many readers, our business was doing great. Then COVID-19 hit. The sky fell. Our leadership decided to make the best out of it. Until this happened, I was logging 30,000 miles in the air every month. I was hopping around from city to city, country to country like a madman.  My job was to connect with people, find new opportunities and respond to disasters. Now I am grounded in California coming into my third month.

Crisis demands changes and adaptation. The truth is, I found myself so much more effective to our business. Via Zoom meetings, we opened new offices in Las Vegas and Uzbekistan and starting M&A discussion with firms elsewhere. I am able to more intimately understand people in U.S. offices by all these video meetings. We have offices spread out all over in California, Nevada, Mexico, India, and the Caribbean. I feel all of us are united, more than ever before, virtually. Fortunately, our company set up a remote work policy and equipment last year, so production efficiency and communication were not an issue. We were prepared for this crisis.

Crisis makes us creative. Our business development team stopped for a week then decided to be creative. We sent in a bottle of wine, lunch, or whiskey to a client’s home in order to set up a virtual business development session. We wrote a record-breaking amount of proposals in the middle of a crisis.

Crisis makes us better. We moved the company-wide schedule to the cloud, so that any staff could collaborate much easier beyond the office boundaries. We set up a cloud base CRM system. We set up training system for overseas offices.

Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.”  In relation, we basically did our best to be creative and positive about the outcome. We set up ourselves for this upcoming disaster recovery phase. Adversity can bring many advantages. The question is: can we see these benefits in the middle of so-called dark hours?

Crisis makes us focus on what is essential. To me, it is my family. I run, lift, and bike twice a day with my 15-year-old son. I share a bottle of wine with my daughters. We talk about the lives ahead of us. I got to know my wife in a deeper and more sensitive way. I found my niece, nephew, sister, and brother-in-law a to be a lovely and welcomed addition in my everyday life.

No one knows how this current crisis will end, and we do not have any control over the global economic collapse. But one thing we have a control over is “today.” How we live, plan and appreciate today. Living out today, to its full extent, is the only thing we have control over. Today really matters.


H. Kit Miyamoto, Ph.D., S.E., is the CEO and a structural engineer for Miyamoto International (http://miyamotointernational.com), a California seismic safety commissioner, and president of the technical nonprofit Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief. He specializes in high-performance earthquake engineering and disaster mitigation, response, and reconstruction.

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