A View from the COO: Individual responsibility in a transitioning world.
One thing that the last two years has told me is the importance of both personal responsibility as well as the collective responsibility we have to the wider society.
In attempting to control and manage the COVID-19 outbreak, a multi-pronged strategy of prevention through masks and isolation, vaccination programs, medical treatment and being considerate of others has been employed as we turn the corner back to whatever the new normal is going to be.
History has shown that even the worst illnesses and diseases are manageable through a combination of systematic medication and vaccination aided by hygienic practices at the individual level.
Whilst we have not fully eradicated COVID-19, we are very much in the transition period where the combined efforts of the individual and the collective are starting to work.
There are parallels from our approach to COVID to what is going on with our planet we should take heart from.
Whether you agree it is human activity that is causing climate change, if human impact is neither positive or neutral, then it makes sense that we change our behaviours to turn the tide.
ESG considerations are complex at both the individual and collective levels. Electric cars reduce emissions, but what practices were involved in mining the Cobalt in their batteries? The wholesale generation of electricity is far more efficient way of producing power than each car having its own individual power generating unit.
The connectedness of individual actions and collective responsibility has never been clearer.
It would be wonderful if we could change our collective impact to immediately reverse the worst impacts of climate change but it is just not feasible. We are in a transition period where the efforts of individuals combined with society shifts are taking us slowly in the right direction.
Whether we progress quickly enough to avoid the more pessimistic outcomes for our planet remains to be seen, however, through our response to COVID, humans have proven that once the individual and the collective minds are mobilised in the same direction, we can achieve a great deal of positive change in a short space of time.
Bringing this back to the challenges I face day to day, the issue of coming into the office has similar themes.
In a post COVID world, issues such as health/safety practices and working location preferences are in a transitional phase, however our business functions significantly better when we are all in the same room sharing our ideas and solving problems together.
I think there is a medium between being flexible and considerate of individual’s wants/needs but there has to be a realisation that we will achieve far more as an integrated functioning team all pulling in the same direction at the same time. So whether it is the fight against disease, functioning effectively at work or the need to more carefully manage the planet we call home, the impacts of the individual and collective are inextricably connected.