CEO Erik Bartsch’s plan to get past the divisiveness of 2020
The following is taken from a letter Bartsch wrote to Aera employees earlier this month. His pledge to himself provides some sound advice for helping us all move past the outcomes of the election.
By Erik Bartsch
2020 has been a divisive year in American politics, culminating in a particularly contentious election. Even in a typical election cycle, the day after election day can be emotionally charged, and it can exacerbate divisions as one “side of the aisle” celebrates and the other is disappointed.
We’ve taken a different approach at Aera to help guide us through the coming weeks. Even if the world around us grows more divided, it’s important that we continue to maintain the unity and respect that makes Aera’s workplace special and continuously demonstrates our value of one another.
Here’s how many of my colleagues at Aera and I plan to move forward in the coming weeks. Maybe you’ll find value in these approaches too.
“I’m not going to let our differences stop me from appreciating the people around me.”
- Let’s disagree respectfully. No matter how I voted, I know I have colleagues who voted differently. I’m not going to let our differences stop me from appreciating the people around me. We can learn from each other instead of attacking or insulting each other. Our company has intentionally pursued a workforce with diverse backgrounds, cultures, worldviews and ways of thinking. This is a strength, not a weakness.
- Let’s overinvest in kindness. It’s been a hard year, and many of us are bearing heavier burdens than normal. Sometimes this has visible effects, like a last-minute schedule change, missed deadline or stress-induced remark that comes out more harshly than intended. Other times we might not have any idea about the fear, stress and anxiety a colleague is facing. So, let’s be kind and patient with one another. Let’s assume the best intentions and pick up where our colleagues may be struggling. We can’t always know what kind of day someone is having, but we can always do something to make it better.
- Let’s take care of ourselves. As we look out for each other, it’s important to look out for ourselves as well. Let’s do our best to stay physically and emotionally healthy. Recognize when we need to take a break or take some time off, and keep strong relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Even while maintaining our physical distance, we can work to prevent isolation and preserve community.
- Let’s lean into our values. The next few weeks may be difficult, but once they’re past, we’ll still be the same people we are today. As individuals, we’ll continue to love our family and friends and strive for the things we believe in. As a company, Aera will continue to value “Building Community” and “Embracing Inclusion.” And we will still be proud of the work we do to deliver much-needed energy to California. Let’s remember who we are, stay true to what we value and work for the good of our families, friends, colleagues and communities.
Aera is full of excellent people with diverse backgrounds, worldviews and experiences. Our teamwork and respect for one another has been a strength for many years, and I trust it will remain a strength tomorrow and for many years to come.