The challenge facing many businesses is unprecedented. We are likely to have a wholesale shift in demand for long-time institutions of the past and the present. Some businesses, as we know them, are going to evaporate. This virus is killing businesses with as much vigor as it has people. Tragically, some businesses have been infected and do not realize it. The question for many business leaders, as we start to reopen the economy is, should I rebuild the business or do I reboot. Should I rebuild as it was, presuming demand will return or reboot to something else?
The coronavirus is an additional challenge impacting demand for energy. We don’t know when demand will increase or how fast. We do know, however that it will increase at some point. What goes down must come up. People are not going to abandon planes, trains, and automobiles. People need plastics. People need chemicals.
We are defined by difficult moments in life. Our response to adversity is the pivot point in life. We can pivot to bitterness, or we can pivot to betterment. It is our choice. Like many others, I watched my eighteen-year business lose ninety-five percent of its revenue in less than a month. I felt helpless to make a difference. I felt trapped by frustration. I was pissed off. I was sad.
Most epidemiologists believe the covid-19 virus is not going away soon. In fact, some believe this virus will be with us long-term, like influenza. We must go back to work at some point in the near future. We need to pick our date to re-invade the public. This invasion will involve risk. We will suffer casualties. We cannot be held hostage by this invisible enemy long-term.
As Americans, we are suffering emotionally. We are feeling this pandemic and the complex emotions that accompany the loss of normal. We cannot go to our favorite eatery. We cannot travel. We cannot escape reality at a movie theater. We cannot get a simple haircut. We know we are suffering, but we may not know exactly why. To make matters worse, we are suffering financially without a solution to the problem. We feel helpless.
This ongoing crisis is defining you in the minds of your people. Your leadership (in their eyes) is being formed like cement and will be hardened in their minds once this is over. Crisis defines leadership or the lack there of. In the immortal words of the poet Maya Angelou, people may not remember what you said, people may not remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
We are all experiencing stages of grief. We are grieving our sense of normalcy and our perception of control. Many people are grieving our businesses as we knew them. We will recover and things will be normal again. Listen to a teacher from China discuss regaining normalcy.
You are defined by your response to adversity. Your team is watching and taking mental queues from your action. You are under the microscope right now. Every leadership book you have read, every class you have taken, every failure you have learned from prepared you for this moment. Your people need you to lead now more than ever. It is the job. It is not a science. You must make quick decisions with imperfect information. You are the one person everyone else is looking at to make sense of this crisis.
Check google and it is all about lowering stress at work. Workplace stress seems to be an epidemic. As leaders, we are challenged to lower the pressure. Take it easy on our people. Do not demand more, better, faster, safer, or cheaper. People will quit if you put them under stress. You cannot have high expectations with today’s fragile workforce. Sound familiar?
Do micromanagers know they are a micromanager? Are they self-aware enough to know how their people feel? Do they know it drives most people crazy to have a micromanager boss? Can a micromanager be officially diagnosed? The answers are not usually, no, maybe, and yes.
Do you work for a mediocre company? Do you lead a mediocre company? I have compiled 10 fatal trends to identify mediocre companies. They are indicators that you have a problem with the future. You are dying a slow death from the infection of mediocrity. If you feel like this is describing your company, it is purely coincidental. Or is it? Following are the trends in no particular order: