People in business abhor uncertainty.
The wild swings in the stock markets signal that there is a lack of clarity about what this country, and the rest of the world are going through; how long it will take to get back to normal, and what will be the new normal.
As the CEO, you need to have some degree of confidence about the marketplace and the ability of your company to deliver on promises made.
Your employees want to know that they will have a stable job and a steady paycheck to provide for their loved ones.
Your clients want assurance that what they are buying will be delivered on time, as ordered and agreed to.
Your suppliers and partners need to know that there is an acceptable level of stability in your business.
For the last eight-plus weeks, few have any of the reassurances that they need.
So, as the flight crew says, more often than we like to hear it: “Pull your seat belts tight because it will be a bumpy ride.”
I know from first-hand experience how uncomfortable flying through bumpy air can be, and I am no fan of it. (Some people actually enjoy rough rides on a plane, go figure.)
Because I bet my life on the fact that the plane I am on will land, safely, and once on the ground, I will continue on with my life.
So, as I death grip the arm rests and practice my breathing techniques to keep my anxiety down in between the silent prayers I am saying to God for a smoother flight, I visualize what I will do when I land; who will I be with, what will we be doing, what kind of fun things do I have to look forward to.
And that is the advice I want to share with you.
In our toughest times in this country (such as the Great Depression; Pearl Harbor, WWII; 9/11, the Great Recession), we’ve always been able to believe in and see better days ahead. And so we will in time with the passing of Covid-19.
In the meantime, while we’re dealing with all the never before in our lifetime regulations about staying at home, staying away from others; wearing facemasks; wiping every surface down with disinfecting wipes and hoping and praying that no one else gets this virus, it is the right time to start thinking ahead to the day when the green light gets turned on and you can be back in business.
I want you to use this time to think about, consider, the future of your company. What will you continue doing? What will you cease (stop) doing? What will you commence (start) doing?
If things opened up (however that is defined) on May 15, or on June 1, or on June 15, or July 1, are you going to be reactive or proactive?
Because, just like you should have both a Business Continuity Plan and a Disaster Recovery Plan, you must have a Green Light or GO Plan to get you in business.
As the CEO, you need to use this opportunity, this slow down, to shape your company for the future and the growth it can enjoy.
Use this time wisely. It is a gift not often given to leaders.
Ken Keller is an executive coach who works with small and midsize B2B company owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs. He facilitates formal top executive peer groups for business expansion, including revenue growth, improved internal efficiencies and greater profitability.
Email:[email protected] Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of the SCVBJ. ν