For Quartz members—planning for the future and managing in a crisis

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Dear members—

Most business leaders tend to plan for the future by assuming that current norms, processes, and technologies will continue on somewhat predictably. But the coronavirus pandemic has made clear how important it is to prepare for things to change drastically. So, how do we plan accordingly?

In yesterday’s Quartz at Work (from home) workshop, executive editor Heather Landy interviewed management consultant Mark W. Johnson about how we can plan for the future, even though we can’t see into it.

Many of us commit what Johnson calls the “future-forward fallacy”—we assume the future will be a seamless continuation of the past. An alternative, he says, is to start by imagining a future reality and then working backwards to identify the decisions we need to make to get there.

As a member, you can watch the entire workshop here and read our summary.

You may also want to check out Quartz’s interview with Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, on maintaining a long-term view while leading effectively in a crisis.


Last week I asked how your industry was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are some of your replies:

I own two small restaurants. We laid everyone off the second day after Kansas issued a shelter in place… We closed one restaurant. My wife and I work the other one, to-go and deliveries… We work seven days a week and two side gigs. We expect sales to recover in 6-8 months. But not as inside sales. Going to a restaurant was an event for socializing. Not anymore. -Wayne

I am a progressive minister serving a large congregation. Our ministry now is all virtual. One of the areas of uncertainty that invites our compassionate and creative responses is our pastoral care and loving presence with those experiencing death and dying. Some of the virtual pieces have worked “better” than expected and others have left us bereaved ourselves. -Mary Ann

Smallish 37-year-old family-owned hotel, restaurant, and retreat center in the Caribbean—we’ve laid off all 40+ staff for three months with a skeletal team of volunteers coming in a couple times a week to keep things from falling apart… I personally am a [massage] therapist and I’m not sure if or how I get to do that again until there’s a vaccine, and it’s not really something you can do online, so even once the lockdown ends, my work is forever changed. -Tanya

Despite the suffering and disruption, many of us are trying to focus on the few silver linings that have emerged and we want to hear yours:

✉️ What’s one silver lining you’ve discovered during the pandemic?


Given the extent of the pandemic’s impact on our livelihoods and industries, it’s sometimes hard to remember that it’s not the only thing happening in the news. And while most things will be different, some trends still hold true. This week’s reading list is a collection of stories that don’t contain the word “pandemic” or “coronavirus”—but are just as relevant to our sense of the world, and where we’re headed.

Best wishes for a restful weekend,

Walter Frick
Membership editor, Quartz