Uncertain times like we’re experiencing with the coronavirus outbreak can cause any of us to be concerned about the physical and financial well-being of ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s not kid ourselves. What we’re dealing with is serious stuff—not just from a health and safety perspective for our customers, our employees, and ourselves, but also from a financial perspective. It’s easy for people to feel worried and anxious.
At a recent staff meeting, I was telling the folks here at VMA that I’ve owned businesses for fifty years. And in those 50 years I’ve been through several economic upheavals and observed the impact they had on the people who experienced them.
The OPEC oil embargo of 1973 was the first to come to mind. This was global and seemed catastrophic at the time, with people sitting in long lines at gas stations, hoping there would still be gas left when they made it to the pump. Now people are waiting in long lines to buy toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
It’s during times of uncertainty that people look to their leaders for guidance. Here are three things you can do right now to bring a sense of calm to this otherwise uncertain situation.
This much I know: the current pandemic will come to an end, and when it does, we want to be sure we’ve done everything possible to come out further ahead.
I’m reminded of a scene from the film Cast Away. Toward the end of the movie the lead character, played by Tom Hanks, is sitting in his friend’s family room, trying to put the pieces of his life back together after being stranded on a remote island for four years. He comments to his friend, “I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”
The fact is that none of us knows what the tide will bring. But by demonstrating sound leadership, communicating clearly, and acting resolutely we dramatically increase the chances that it will be something good.