We have begun the round of grizzly COVID-related anniversaries. It has been a year since… the death of, the collapse of, the cancellation of. More positively, we are anticipating a staged return of some hitherto basic freedoms, but uncertainty remains high. Will data mess with key dates again? What is lurking around the corner?

At such times, we must cherish each other, recognising that soon we should be able to mingle like it’s 2019. Remote relationship behaviours have become embedded, however. We have formed the habit of connecting less, with the risk that we are noticing less too. We will certainly have lost some of the qualities of fully functioning alliances. 

To optimise business relationship management right now, my approach, in short, is to make it strategic. Draw up an action plan. Invest in its delivery. Set measures for success. Who do I need to see, how can I re-establish what we shared before COVID hit? 

The recommended vibe I have heard described as ‘solidarity in pathos’. Purposeful and conscious, directed and kind. 

And let’s commit to generating some ‘collective effervescence’ (thanks to French sociologist Émile Durkheim for this wonderful term). It happens when we are together in person and all our communications faculties are firing. 

As Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari reminds us, solidarity is “the big advantage we have over viruses”.