COVID-19 Survival Blog #6 - Measuring Success
If you've read this far, by now you have realized that I'm a long winded writer. I've tried to fix it in the past, but conciseness just isn't a strong suit of mine. I'll keep working on it.
In that spirit, here's an attempt at a shorter post about how we're planning to measure success when we look back on this time once the pandemic is all over and we're all sipping vaccine-flavored martinis. I'll even do it in bullet points!
Did we win the COVID-19 challenge?
- Did we take care of our people? This one will always be at the top of the list for us. When you talk to our family, all of us will tell you that there have been days that the only reason we keep moving forward is because so many people have come to depend on Backwoods. Obviously, very difficult short term decisions were made to preserve the long term futures of our employees. The financial harm that each of them suffered in the short term was the hardest part for us. And how many of them were so gracious when they heard the news (multiple people who stayed on with pay cuts even offered me to take more from them for the sake of their coworkers; others told me that they felt sorry for me that I had to lay them off!) was the only thing that consistently made us tear up that day. I say "tear up", but alright fine, we were sobbing. We were just so happy to have such a great team, and so sad that it had come to this.
- Did we help our community? There's going to be a post dedicated to this in the future, I'm sure. We've helped some, and we're still looking for ways to help, even in our somewhat handicapped state right now.
- Did we use this time to make ourselves better? So far we've played with beer recipes, planned future product launches, ran a successful amateur drive in (see Blog #5), started a smoked meats program (definitely will be covered in its own blog post soon), and taken on multiple improvement projects to our pub interiors and grounds. At the end of this, we want to feel like we took every extra moment we gained from the downtime and turned it into something we can use in the future.
- Did we conserve capital? If you know me, you know that my highest (nerdiest) goal in life is to perfectly utilize the resources at my disposal at all times. I wish I could say that I hit that goal regularly. Still though, we want to look back on this time and feel confident that we were resourceful with what we had, we burned through our emergency funds at a reasonable rate, and any extra spending we did was only utilized to make ourselves better.
- Did we learn? Once this is done and we're all happily vaccinated, we're not likely to experience this exact same situation again in our lifetime (right? I hope...). Still, though, we'll have gone through a global crisis and economic hardship, and those really do just happen sometimes. We want to have notes and procedures saved from this time to look back on if something even close to this happens again. It was actually one of the big reasons we decided that a blog like this would be a good exercise.
- Did we lead? We don't want to hide during times like these. We'd rather stumble, publicly fail at some things, get back up, and be one of the groups that people look at after the fact and think, "They kept as clear of heads as they could, helped out where they could, and took the situation head-on."
- Did we have fun? Anyone who has worked at Backwoods and had the chance to get the "New Hire Talk" from Jim Waters (my dad) knows that this is something he requires. If you're not having fun, what are you doing here? There have been a lot of un-fun moments in all of this, most definitely, and I don't want to downplay that here. But while we worked hard, sacrificed, and plotted the best way out of the mess, did we take the time to enjoy the folks around us, the change of pace, the privileges and conveniences we still have, and the opportunity to learn from all of this? I still chuckle with the brew team every morning and bother the limited service staff in Carson at lunch, and those are the parts of this I'd rather remember the most when it's done.