I hope you’re well and weathering these unprecedented times. I hope you find ways and the time to thank those who are on the frontline of helping us all get through this. I also hope that as you are abiding by the stay in place and distancing rules, you are doing your best to find things to be grateful for. And most of all I hope you’re looking to the near future when things move to a new and better “normal”. We are all learning through this adversity that we are stronger and more capable than we may have thought.
There is nothing like a bona fide crisis to focus on and solve problems. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been both amazed and unpleasantly overwhelmed with the amount of information coming my way lately. The fact that we are all so connected digitally, builds a sense of community like we’ve never experienced before. How we present ourselves and lead right now will have lasting impact for us personally and for our families, businesses and careers. I’m guessing that like me you are trying to stay focused as we move from “crisis management” to “confusion management” to “best as we can management”, all with an eye to getting to “best in class management” in what will be a slightly different and improved environment. How will this new normal shape up? No one knows of course, but past history offers some clues.
To gather my thoughts to speak with you this week, I looked back to 2008 when the financial crisis was really hitting commercial real estate. Now, like then, the going will be tough…yes, we will need to push aside the information clutter, focus on what we believe is most important, and let the other things take 2nd chair for now. These really are extraordinary times, when business-as-usual won’t do the job.
Now is the time for us to accept that the plans we laid out for 2020 need to be rewritten, so we need to assess our losses, and re-invent ourselves a little. What we do during the next days, weeks and months really matters and will position us to be stronger moving forward. As I looked back, history and facts tell us that “we got this”. We’re feeling weaker. Maybe this crisis is exposing our bellies, making us feel vulnerable. But that vulnerability is actually a good thing – if we let ourselves see it, we can do something about it. Perhaps Warren Buffett said it best: “A bad economy does not cause businesses to go broke, but it does expose the weak ones.” This is a time to let our weaknesses bubble to the surface and see if we can get stronger. Let’s trust that we can do this for ourselves and for others. This is a time of outreach and connecting, even though it’s hard. Taking action begins in trusting that each of us has the ability to help move through this. Our entire economic system is built upon trust. We trust that our suppliers and clients will deliver as promised and they trust that they will be treated and paid fairly.
So how do we do it? How do we use this time wisely? How do we find the creativity and the boldness to march into the ‘belly of the beast’ and conquer this? Here it is on a bumper sticker: Focus only on the problems you can solve! Push aside the noise. Look for clarity and accept that there is no script or playbook to go by for a while, but everything you’ve learned has prepared you and me adapt, navigate, survive and ultimately thrive. As you focus, remember that “doing” drives attitude and having the right attitude combined with fortitude wins every time. Forecast and plan, but do it in very short timeframes…hours and days, not months. Focus, focus, focus.
In the days and weeks ahead, let’s look our fear in the face, and choose to move forward boldly and with confidence. Stay well, look for things to laugh about and help those around you do the same! And do me a favor, please reach back to me so I can share the things you’re doing to successfully to move from surviving to thriving – from crisis to smooth sailing again. I’ll share them with others in our “community”.