It’s Time to Lead

Business owners can’t afford to be complacent in this new marketplace.

Perspective Guest

WE HAVE ALL BEEN AFFECTED BY COVID-19. For some, it has created an opportunity for growth, for others some sustainability, and for others it has created devastation. As business leaders, we are facing and being challenged with adversity, and the determining factor in whether we survive is how we handle that adversity. The best way to move
forward is to shift to our analytical minds and decipher the information around us by simplifying the constant bombardment of materials. Solid decisions are made from the balance of qualitative (emotions) vs. quantitative (economics) information.

Changes occur when circumstances (crises) happen that impact your life and business. There are two types of crises: event-driven and process-driven. Both disrupt business and life as usual; however, there is a distinct difference between the two. An event-driven crisis (manmade or natural) follows an event/aftermath pattern like Hurricane Katrina or the attacks of 9/11, where we are overtaken by an event and then left to recover. Most importantly, we know the event is over and we move to recovery mode immediately.

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A process-driven crisis, on the other hand, follows a pattern of acceleration, apex and deceleration. There is a beginning, middle and end that needs to be tracked, monitored and evaluated for the most optimum results. The importance in understanding the type of crisis will determine our ability to make decisions, to navigate and to succeed in our future.

COVID-19 is a crisis event. While I believe the economy will turn around for long-term growth in 12 to 18 months, it’s
clear that the greatest challenge we all have — no matter what size of business we run — is to balance our reopening or re-entry decision making based on health/safety (qualitative) information, vs. economics (quantitative).

I do not believe the economy will rebound for sustainability this year, but rather will experience incremental growth based upon the viability of the success of re-entry, true measurements against the phases of re-entry, and the consistent building of trust with clients and employees.

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Entrepreneurs and businesses need to reposition themselves and their organizations by streamlining expenses and making
decisions on the infrastructure of their organizations. This is a time for spending with intent and purpose through all levels of your organization. This can be achieved by recognizing the struggles that lie ahead and communicating openly and honestly with employees, clients, potential customers and stakeholders (bank or investors).

The greatest challenge lies in decisions regarding reopening, sustainability after reopening and a company’s position in the market after reopening. We cannot be paralyzed by fear of the unknown and fear of this disease, but rather we must balance the impact of managing and mitigating the disease against economic viability until a vaccine is available. We must reopen with set guidelines in place, measure the impact of the disease against each phase, and make responsible decisions accordingly. We must be socially responsible when it comes to both our employees and clients. But how do we do that?

REOPENING What’s crucial here is creating and relaying the groundwork of trust. True fear paralyzes all. As businesses, we must decelerate fear through actions, understanding, guidance and solid decisions.

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SUSTAINABILITY AFTER RE-OPENING Now is the time to maintain and set the groundwork for future growth. This requires a three-step process:

STEP 1 Analyze your financials from the reopening period by performing a deep dive analysis of all income and expenses as related to short-term change, long-term change and risk (monthly, quarterly and yearly).

STEP 2 Continue to watch the economy.

STEP 3 Continue to monitor the status of the epidemic.

POSITION YOUR BUSINESS FOR FUTURE GROWTH In my opinion, sustainable positioningin markets will not happen until a vaccine is available, which may be in 12 to 18 months. By then the public will begin to have trust again. By that time, the goal is to have earned both your employees’ and clients’ trust by the solid, data-driven decisions you’ve made.

We have the choice of empowering ourselves with pertinent knowledge, both factual and opinion driven. As leaders, we must make hard decisions when things become challenging. We must remove ourselves from the noise and decide to lead our organizations going forward. Our understanding of basic business concepts is essential. We must do what is best for the organization, which will result in taking care of our people. Adversity and change create tenacity, strength and longevity. Adversity forces us to deal with situations we have chosen to ignore. Embracing and accepting change will help us fine tune our organizations to become more resilient for future endeavors.


Perspective Guest Headshot

Jennie M. Campbell, CMP,CMM,PMP is the CEO/president of Stewart Steelwood Investments, dba The Stewart Lodges, an exclusive, private corporate retreat center in Loxley, Alabama, specializing in customized small meetings. She may be reached at (866) 580-4343.

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