For avid news-watchers like myself, the COVID-19 health issue has provided so many opportunities to learn how the world is altering these days. I can’t take in enough news about how governments – local, state, and federal – are responding to the coronavirus pandemic; what’s happening in hospitals around the world; how the economy is reacting; and how businesses are faring and people are coping. It seems so surreal.

Because the situation is changing rapidly, in the 10 days it takes to print and mail this issue of SDM, the state of the world could be dramatically different than it is right now in late March. But if we always attempt to discern lessons learned, then it won’t matter when you are reading this editor’s note.

In the world of security, most of you have read or heard of the postponements and cancellations of events. I don’t ever recall a year when there wasn’t an ISC West. We’ve been emailed statements from suppliers about the frequency of facility cleanings and other precautionary measures being taken. We’ve seen the notices about supply chain problems and certain products no longer being made available, or factories that have completely shut down. 

At the time of this writing we are starting to hear how the pandemic is affecting security dealers and integrators. Perhaps you are scuttling to get central station employees up and running from home, trying to figure out how to keep technicians safe while on the road, or making the heavy decision to reduce staff salaries, impose furloughs, or even lay off valued employees.

In my 36 years with SDM I’ve never seen anything like this — none of us have — and I know we all hope it will be over soon. 

My husband used to say, “Learn to expect the unexpected.” That is a difficult lesson to learn because when things return to normal, people instinctively move forward and don’t spend enough time in retrospect: Could I have seen this coming? If only I knew, what could I have done to prepare my business? What things are within my control so I can react in a more positive way next time? Should I launch an emergency fund or prepare a crisis-response plan? So, talk to your colleagues and peers, read articles and blogs, speak to consultants — whatever works best — so that ultimately you can set goals for how your business can survive the next crisis, because there will be one. Learn to expect the unexpected.

This is my farewell Editor’s Angle column, as I recently decided to retire after 36 years at SDM. I have so much love for this industry, its people and its mission, and I sincerely hope all of you will weather this health storm, both personally and professionally. Your support of SDM is invaluable to us — please keep reading the magazine and visiting the website. If you don’t know SDM’s new editor, Karyn Hodgson, please introduce yourself at the next event or on LinkedIn.

In the meantime, I hope you will learn to expect the unexpected!