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Check That Box – The Ampersand August 2020

August 4, 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


My mid-summer reading list typically isn’t  think-tanky heavy lifts from journals like The Harvard Business Review or similarly highbrow periodicals. I’m more of a Heather’s Pick kind of guy, come summer. Yet, a friend recently sent me this article published by McKinsey, a global leader in leading-edge thought leadership. I’ll spare you the work and spoil the ending for you. The article concludes:


As executives feel their way out of the COVID-19 crisis and into a next normal, they have many pressing questions on their minds about the health of their employees and the health of their businesses. Here is one that should be top of mind: what should be retained from this period of pandemic shock, uncertainty, and dramatic change in the ways businesses have reacted to crisis? We are convinced the answer is that those companies that invest in capabilities to empower leadership, teams, and technology will be the ones that thrive in the post-pandemic era.”


Agreed. Happily, though more reflexively than intentionally, we have been doing all the things the article suggests, and more. Along with the misery, many unforeseen virtues have quietly emerged from this crisis. Beyond investing in capabilities that empower leadership, teams, investing in technology and, to use an over-used phrase, leaning into, rather than retreating from, the current challenge, we have also been doing something the big brains at McKinsey didn’t suggest: stockpiling goodwill chips.


We’ve always believed in ‘paying it forward’ and running a karma credit in all that we do. Giving advice to a client’s kid about their chosen career path? No problem. Speaking with the next door neighbour about the job market? Sure thing. Making a quiet donation to a worthy cause? Of course. Taking on a pro bono search for an organization in need? Absolutely. Paying full bonuses to every member of the team in recognition of our June 30 year end, despite concluding our worst quarter in history?  No brainer.  We don’t amass these credits so that we can one day draw them down by being jerks for a few weeks. Rather, it just seems a sensible way to run a business and live a life.


It’s easy to be magnanimous when you’re winning. We think true character shows up when the chips are down. If you’re not similarly investing in your people today, don’t worry. We’ll be there to help you fill all the holes when your talent departs once normalcy returns.


In the spirit of doing right, and in a season of such unprecedented unease, the team at Pekarsky & Co. joyously took to the deserted streets of greater Calgary on Monday, July 6th – formerly known as “the Monday of Stampede” and, in place of our usual boisterous rooftop party, instead delivered some locally procured and handmade goods and good vibes to our best clients from the past year.  The day culminated on our rooftop, on a perfect summer evening, at precisely the time our annual Stampede party was to have taken place; this year, with nothing more than each other, a hibachi, and a couple six packs of beer. Though enjoyable, socially distanced, and appropriately diminutive for the times, we hope it was a one-off and not one of the best practices that will follow us in the post-pandemic era. Seeing as all but a few of you missed out, we attach below five minutes of mid-summer karmic feel good Juju. Enjoy!



We’ll be back in September with our usual Ampersand, featured opportunities, thought leadership and other exciting news. Until then, you can follow our adventures and updates on social media.




Stay safe, stay sane, stay positive!