COVID19 has impacted businesses around the world. Even more so, it has left an impact on how businesses are able to provide services and products to customers who are in need. As a business owner, educator, and risk management consultant myself, my biggest challenges over the last 9 weeks have been the day to day changes in order to meet the needs of my team members and clients, executing safety plans with the most up to date information, decontamination policies, risk management plans, and communicating this information in the best way possible without overwhelming my team members, customers, and the community. I would be lying to you if I said this was easy. This is my first experience as a business leader facing a pandemic crisis, but with challenges, I have also been able to grab the “brass -ring”. Kudos to you if you are a wrestling fan and have heard this expression before. This is not a time to be greedy, selfish, and put other businesses down. Instead, this is a time for business leaders to get involved with their communities and other leaders to establish safe guidelines to re-open their communities. Over the past 9 weeks, I have seen friends, clients, and colleagues lose everything they worked for in a matter of seconds. This was devastating for them and devastating for me to witness. I knew that I needed to work harder than ever to support those who needed me most from a friend’s perspective, a teacher, a consultant, and a business leader. Here is what I have been working on over the past 9 weeks to build resiliency to Certifications For Life Inc., LLC. and to help my community prepare for the summer.
- I cut all non- essential spending. I went through my bank statements and cut everything other than the essentials. This allowed me to keep my team on staff.
- I further developed my “motto” to further develop relationships with existing friends, family members, colleagues, existing clients, and new clients. My “motto” is H-T-C ( Honesty, transparency, consistency). Honesty- This was not a time to make up stories and make false promises. People’s livelihood were at stake. I could never live with myself by lying. In order to remain honest with myself and everyone else. I made it my duty after every day of school to search for any webinars, resources, articles, as well as staying up to date with guidance from the American Red Cross, CDC, Pool, and Hot Tub Alliance, NJ Department of Health, and our NJ Governor’s daily reports. For any update that I received, I shared it with my clients. If I did not have an answer, I was honest about it. Transparency- I decided early on that daily emails and text messages were going to upset my followers including my team members. Instead, I used the power of technology by “going live” or recording the videos giving a weekly or a bi-weekly update after digesting and being trained properly with the above resources as to how services would commence keeping my customers and team members safe as well as abiding all the guidelines. For example, for those customers who needed CPR/AED/first aid training certifications for whatever reason, I made sure that I went over all of the ways that we could provide these services with the idea that the “stay at home order” could be extended. My customer’s time and money were deeply considered. My services are classes, and I wanted every customer to get the most out of what they paid for. For lifeguard training classes, I have been very honest about the modifications that were allowed, what skills could be completed when, and a timeframe for when team-based skills could potentially be finished. Having plans for how these classes would operate was important and allowed existing and new customers to make their own informed decisions on whether to hold off from registering for classes or signing up and completing what could get done. Consistency-The messages in writing and over the phone had to remain 100% consistent. If there was a change in information, I made sure to explain when the information changed and by whom. I made sure that the information was consistent on all platforms such as my website and social media pages.
What were the fruits of doing all of these things?
I was able to do what I love to do and provide services virtually and maintain my presence. My business has transformed into being a business that was able to provide more services virtually and by adding more consulting services.
COVID19 and Pool Re-opening recommendations.
Besides being a trainer for CPR/AED/First Aid and Lifeguard training classes, I have over 11 years as a CPO and an Aquatic Director for multiple locations. Everything I do is about “risk management” and pool safety. Here is what I have found.
Pool Season- Where are we?
This kills me to see that pools cannot open at this time. During the months of February-September, every weekend is spent at a pool either training lifeguards, conducting risk-management assessments/ consulting, evaluating swim instruction programs, training managers, and even for leisure. I was very upset that I could not be on a pool deck or in a pool. As of May 18, 2020, only CPO’s and pool maintenance staff can be on the properties either starting to open up their pools or maintain the pool chemicals as it would be a health concern to abandon the job. The poor day camps and commercial pool companies are at a standstill waiting for guidelines. There have been recommendations, but as CPO’s we are always asking “Well what if…?”. We want “guidelines” by our health inspectors to take back to our attorneys to make sure that we limit the chance of hurting or infecting our teams and guests.
Where are you obtaining information regarding re-opening guidelines:
- American Red Cross
- Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
- NJ Department of Health
- American Camping Association
- Constant and Consistent dialogue with other leading consultants in the industry.
- NJ Parks and Recreation.
- NJ.com daily updates from the governor.
- Professional groups .
It needs to be understood that the above resources are providing “recommendations” to help us start the process in getting our pools open if there is a safe and possible way. We are all waiting for the department of health to provide us “guidelines”.
A common concern that I keep hearing
My commercial pool company has all of these requirements for signing waivers, taking temperatures, and making us wear face shields, and possibly bringing our own furniture.
COVID19 has raised fears and suspicions about what the proper protocol is. The property association and commercial pool company have a huge obligation to make sure that you, the other residents, and their lifeguards are safe. I ask that you remain patient, as well as allow your commercial pool companies to alter rules and regulations per the NJ DOH or your State’s DOH. This summer will be different than other summers, but we need to be mindful of protecting each other otherwise the ramifications will be far worse.
More information to come once more information is released. Please comment on this article if there are any suggestions or comments that you would like to make.