We’ve been hit…but we have a plan – by Dan Tapper

Back at the height of his dominance as a nearly unstoppable heavyweight champion in the late 1980s, Mike Tyson—following a customary knockout of an opponent—was asked what he thought happened to his opponent’s plan of attack during the fight. His response has become iconic.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

It’s true in boxing, and it’s true in the world of public relations. No business or organization ever wants to have a day where everything goes wrong, where the best laid plans take a backseat to managing a crisis. But that’s the real world. Sometimes we get hit.

But during the extraordinary disruption caused by the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, some have been able to say, “We’ve been hit. But we have a plan. And it’s working.”

As recently as a month ago few could possibly have predicted we would be where we are right now. Offices shuttered and everyone working from home. Schools and college campuses closed and kids learning from home. Competitive sports cancelled around the world. Dining out, going to bars, going to friends’ homes, going to a playground or a movie, even shaking a friend’s hand? All things of the past.

And yet, here we are, adapting to the new paradigm of social distancing, telework and unprecedented changes to our daily routines. We took a huge hit, but we had a plan and we’ve kept moving—in some cases, impressively and inspiringly.

We have seen physicians and health care providers across the state pitching in at every turn to treat patients in desperate need of care, often at the expense of their own safety. Many are even finding innovative ways to do it, through telemedicine and remote consultations. They took a hit. And they kept moving.

We have seen large Connecticut companies, 500-1,000 people strong, shift to a telework system and not miss a beat. Not only that, they have managed to stay connected with their employees, customers and clients, stressing one common message: “We are all in this together.”

Photo Courtesy of Masonicare

We have seen senior communities cope with seemingly impossible challenges. Family members not able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes and retirement communities are finding ways to make things work through high-tech Zoom meetings and hand-made “Hi Mom” and “I Love You” signs held up through the window. They took a hit. And they kept moving.

We have seen all this and more. People who are forced to work and function in brand new ways that they never could have dreamed of, but who continue to get the work done for those who are depending on them. And it has been amazing to see.

The COVID-19 crisis is, sadly, nowhere near over yet, and the tragedy that has befallen so many in our state who have lost friends and loved ones is immeasurable. Yet through it all we have seen the unconquerable human spirit enduring, adapting and carrying on. It hasn’t been easy, and it won’t get any easier any time soon, but rather than let it defeat us, we’ve taken a hit and we’ve kept moving.

We wish you safety and good health, and we want you to know we remain with you every step of the way. And we stand in awe of your resilience—of your ability to take a punch harder than anything Mike Tyson ever threw, to quickly regroup, get up from the canvas and keep moving.

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