Today, I was reminded of a very powerful quote taken from the book, Seven Choices for Success and Significance, by Nido R. Qubein. It states: “Success is not a matter of luck, not an accident of birth, not a reward for virtue. The most successful people I know are the ones who have something to do, somewhere to be and someone to love.…It all starts with the choices you make—they determine the person you will become.”
This came to mind as I watched a colleague of mine respond to a question regarding the current pandemic. The question posed to him was: “Do you think anything good has come out of this crisis?” His response was spot on, and I could not agree with it more.
My colleague indicated that he felt many in our industry made changes due to their belief that COVID-19 isn’t going away, and he stated that others should adjust and move forward quickly if they have not already. He elaborated on the fact that we have witnessed quick decision making, more-effective communication—both inside and outside of organizations, and a drive forward in innovation the likes of which none of us have seen before. I couldn’t agree more!
As consultants at Violand Management, we have witnessed successes and good things during the most chaotic time in our business lives.
Author Virginia Burden was once quoted as saying, “Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.” It is my firm belief that our industry has worked together to enable everyone to be successful.
Over the past several months, I have watched company after company make the conscious decision to move forward and choose to demonstrate the courage to lead when, in reality, retreating could have been a viable option for so many reasons. By making these conscious choices our industry separated themselves from the panic and uncertainty and stepped up to serve their communities and their customers in the best ways possible.
We all know that ordinary people working together can obtain extraordinary success. I think history will favorably look back on the restoration industry during this time, recognizing that it obtained, and in many cases exceeded, a success level beyond all expectations.
In the history of business there are many great examples exemplifying extraordinary success and courageous leadership in times of crisis. I think each of these examples allows us to grow and learn. In 1982, there was Johnson & Johnson’s quick and effective response upon finding Tylenol capsules had been laced with cyanide. In 1993, there were claims of syringes found in cans of Diet Pepsi. Although it later turned out to be a hoax, PepsiCo, Inc. dealt with the public quickly and effectively with open and honest communication.
On the other end of the spectrum, we can also learn from failures in leadership during times of crisis. Eastman Kodak and Sears, Roebuck and Co. are unfortunate case studies in failed crisis leadership/management. With these companies, it wasn’t one incident that needed to be addressed. It was a failure to reinvent the company, along with their products and services, to meet changing demands.
What are the unexpected successes that companies within the restoration industry have obtained, and what have we learned to this point about crisis leadership and management? Here are a few examples:
- Ensure clear, concise, and timely communication with every single stakeholder.
- Display strong, visible, and calm leadership. Be out in front as you exhibit all those core values that are hanging on your wall and don’t compromise on any of them.
- Make your employees part of your success by giving them the tools and resources needed to address any challenges or opportunities they may face.
- Create a crisis plan and make it flexible and adaptable to possible changes.
- Realize that creativity is critical, and if ever there was a time to “think outside the box,” it is during a crisis.
- Don’t overanalyze. Develop solutions and move forward.
- Remain calm, no matter what the crisis throws your way. Having self-control and not acting out of emotion is paramount.
While we remain in crisis mode and there is still much to be done, I couldn’t be prouder of this industry and the men and women who have sacrificed so much to provide a level of service and dedication that is unparalleled. Congratulations to each employee for a job well done, and thank you all for representing our industry so well.