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Managing in a Crisis: What Lies Ahead?
How would you function in a crisis? Chances are, you have a better idea of the answer to that question than you did a year ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged maintenance and engineering managers in ways they never imagined. It has forced them to think more on their feet, as well as to rethink their roles within their organizations.
This occurred to me after my conversation with Greggory Sprowl, program manager for access controls and security services with the University of California San Francisco. In our cover story this month, which you can read here, Sprowl discussed the way the pandemic has challenged him and his teams and how they have responded.
I asked Sprowl about his organization’s initial steps when the pandemic erupted in March 2020.
“In the beginning, we quickly developed a team throughout the entire organization that involved stakeholders from everywhere who never knew each other except through email,” he said, adding that the general sentiment among team members was, “We don’t care who you work for. We all have to get through a few things.”
I also asked him about his evolving role in the organization.
“One of the biggest changes in the culture of UCSF over the last few years is how much we partner with the police department,” he said. “From the time of a building’s inception, I and the crime prevention person with UCPD set the criteria for what goes into that building as it’s being designed. We never had a seat at that table before, but now as industry experts, we’re able to help design a building from the ground up.”
My sense is that the impact of COVID-19 — which is still playing out — goes far beyond physical structures and has changed the way many managers approach their profession and their roles within organizations.