The harsh reality we must face is that the current situation is bad and may be terminal for some businesses. There will be financial implications for many that will cause upset and hurt, both personally and professionally. People will lose jobs through the need for a business to survive. The economy will slow, and work will be challenging on every level.
We may well lose in the short-term. In fact, without profiteering, we probably will. But we are not here for the short-term. Our ideas and dreams and creations were never going to be finished this year. This is a turn in the road we weren’t expecting, yet the destination should remain the same.
Leadership in the calm with a following wind is easy. Leadership in a storm, such as the one we are currently facing, is the toughest challenge you are likely to encounter during your tenure. But it is not forever, and we must ensure we come out of the other side as the same people we were when we went in. What we must not do in the meantime is forget the responsibility we have to help. To help staff, to help suppliers, to help our clients and to help our communities. Not for commercial gain, but because we know it is the right thing to do.
‘We are all in the same boat, but some have better life jackets’
Look around with the eyes of your business and find those who you can help rather than be angry or jealous of those who are more secure. The aim is to navigate without reaching the extremes of blind optimism or catastrophizing. Be informed, be measured, be calm. In a time of stress and uncertainty, all eyes are firmly focused on your every action and reaction. Be the voice of common-sense and optimism, not the doomsayer.
What you will have when the dust settles and we rebuild towards the new normal, is your integrity. And of all the challenges currently facing us collectively, maintaining that integrity is the one to prioritise.
Your decisions and actions over the next few weeks and months will be your legacy; not the profits you made or the empire you built. You will be remembered for how you reacted when people needed you most. It’s time to be the leader you hope your grandchildren have, if they find themselves in a situation such as the one we face today.