April 22, 2020
COVID-19: 3 Tips for Moving from Initial Shock to Ultimate Resilience
There’s a lot going on around the world right now as we continue to navigate the continuous impact of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) pandemic. Hospitals are engaged in battling this evolving pandemic. Markets have shut down. Many businesses are experiencing an economic setback. Everything seems like it is upside down, and every day brings on more challenges. During times like this, I try to think about what things I can control. How should I react? What should I do?
Here are three things that come to mind as we navigate this uncertain time. We hope you find these insights helpful.
Engage With Family & Friends
While business is important, family and friends should always come first, and the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed family normalcy. We now have the opportunity to interact differently with our family members. We are not moving quickly from one event or task to another. In fact, the shelter-in-place orders have created more time. And concerns have arisen due to the fear of the unknown. Use the available time to talk and think together.
Ask family members more profound questions regarding their thoughts and feelings about what is going on in our world. For example:
- How does your spouse feel about you working from home?
- What do your kids think about not being in school or participating in their usual activities?
- If you are single or don’t have children, talk to your parents and siblings. What is different about their lives now? How are they handling things today?
You should also be ready to share your thoughts and feelings. You may have to do so to break the ice and get the conversation started. When you do, be honest about your struggles. Showing vulnerability will open the door to a much deeper level of sharing from those around you.
Make sure to conclude this discussion constructively by acknowledging that things are different, and likely very difficult. You must also share your confidence that we will get through this crisis. It’s not going to be easy, and things will change along the way. But we will get through it.
Revise Your Business Plans
Let’s face the facts: the original business plans developed as we entered 2020 are entirely irrelevant. The changes could be moving in either the negative or positive direction. They could be drastic or minimal. They could also last for weeks, months, or quarters, and have an impact on your employees, customers, suppliers, and investors.
It’s time to roll up our sleeves and make new plans to contemplate a wide variety of scenarios (including extreme situations and contingency plans). Outline specifics steps to be taken when you reach specific milestones and don’t underestimate your liquidity profile. All business plans need to end up with a perspective on cash management. Many companies are creating crisis management task forces that include a cash management office. Check out these helpful tips for managing cash flow during a crisis.
It’s also important to engage your employees in discussions about how to execute these plans. Here is an example of the steps one CEO took:
Maintain a Triumphant Attitude
This approach is best illustrated by the example of US Admiral Jim Stockdale, as referenced in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. Admiral Stockdale spent approximately six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. By his own account, he emerged from this experience even stronger than when he went in. Collins describes what he calls “The Stockdale Paradox.” Maintain the absolute faith that you will prevail while also confronting the brutal facts of your current situation. In doing so, you must also avoid the temptation to put deadlines on when you will prevail. Deadlines set expectations, and when expectations are not met, that creates doubt. And doubt is the last thing we need when facing crisis-level situations.
As we contemplate The Stockdale Paradox, it is easy to think: I could never be that strong. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that we have overcome many challenges in our own lives. We are resilient. We have prevailed in the past, and that should help us build the confidence that we will prevail in the future.
Bringing it all together
The COVID-19 outbreak is indeed tragic, and our lives have changed as a result. But this pandemic won’t be around forever. In the midst of it all, we can address the important things in our lives with the right approach and thrive on the other side.
Our family and friends need our support. They need to know we are there for them, and they need to know we are listening. Also, our business needs to be reevaluated to determine what is changing and by how much. Engage your employees as you develop action plans to deal with the changes and uncertainty. And finally, in supporting both, we need to process reality with the confidence that we will prevail. Because we will!
A few resources you may find helpful:
WE ARE READY TO HELP.
The current business environment requires change, and we are experts in change. From revamping your business strategy to executing on key finance, cash management, or technology initiatives – Bridgepoint Consulting’s dedicated team of consulting professionals are here to help you navigate this dynamic landscape. Check out our full suite of services here. Ready for a solution, need some guidance? Let’s have a conversation.
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