"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
--- Walt Disney
What a mess this COVID-19 has caused! To think that many of us couldn't even spell coronavirus a month ago, now it is all we hear about. The news is constantly tragic and the world is changing rapidly due to this strain of destruction. That's the bad news, and I for one believe we've had enough of it. The good news is that this will pass and some very good things will come out of all of our sacrifices.
Until then, it is up to us as business leaders to take the reins and actually lead. These are the times when men and women become stronger men and women and the years of experience kick in. This is the time when the culmination of everything we've experienced and learned from all of the trials and tribulations we've faced in the past come to the forefront and affects the way we lead our people, our businesses, and in some cases, our communities.
"Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."
--- Colin Powell
There are at least three things we need to cling to as we lead through these turbulent times. The first is that we need to remember that others are watching and waiting for our next moves. Some of you have had to downsize or layoff team members, and others have reduced business hours or temporarily closed down altogether. All of these scenarios suck, but you don't have the luxury of wallowing in your sorrow or finding a corner to hide in.
You must take action, any kind of action, toward making things even a little better. To help get you jumpstarted, send out notices via email or text about the new CARES act and how your team members can get assistance from the federal government if needed. Send notices from the CDC of what is expected next. Don't let your team depend only on their favorite news stations. Take the lead and send out information. Stay in constant communication with your team members, vendors, and your customers. Show others that you are taking charge and will stay on top of the crisis.
"Where there is no vision, there is no hope."
--- George Washington Carver
Next, begin formulating a plan of attack for when this thing passes, and it will pass. Bring back an employee or two to help you come up with a strategy of how and where you will get business from when things get back to somewhat normal. Maybe you'll need to change your business model, your location, or your customer base. Whatever it is, take the role of a leader and lead others toward the good that is sure to come.
"Everyone goes through adversity in life, but what matters is how you learn from it."
--- Lou Holtz
Finally, hold meetings via Skype, Zoom, or Go to Meeting, (all free or minimal cost), and communicate to your team what your strategy is for the business. Instill hope and show determination that nothing is going to stop your business from succeeding. We all may be temporarily stalled, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and let everyone know you are leading the team into the light.
"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way."
--- John C. Maxwell