My colleague Brian is well known on our team for his sage wisdom. One thing that stands out to me above the many other smart things he says is, “never waste a good crisis”!
I remember the day Lehman Brothers collapsed 12 years ago. I was a financial advisor at the time and my clients had lost millions of Lehman backed structured notes. I thought the world was over as we knew it. I vividly remember the feeling of helplessness and paralysis over those months. It turns out the world didn’t end, and I wish I had taken more advantage of that period. We’ve got a different take this time and we hope these ideas help you as well.
First and foremost, nothing matters more than your health. Until we have more information, clarity, or a cure, the single most important thing for ALL of us is to be cautious, to be responsible, and listen to the advice of the medical experts while tuning out the “idiot experts”.
We see 3 scenarios:
1. This is the end of the world
If this is your belief, you should feel relief instead of panic. Why worry if it’s the end of the world? Go out and empty out your bank balance and finish up your bucket list. Go out with a bang! We don’t believe this to be the case, and suggest it’s not a scenario worth stressing over.
2. This could go on for 6 months or 6 years
While this is true, it’s the position that leaves us most paralyzed. Broad ambiguity and uncertainty make predicting the future, and taking action, very difficult. Should you manage costs (6 months) or should you shut the business down (it’s hard to last out 6 years)?
3. This will get worked out in 2-3 months
This is our belief and if you believe so as well, you’ve got a BIG OPPORTUNITY to come out feeling ready to dominate at the other end. The “ABC” of ideas we’re undertaking related to business:
• Adapt – find ways to conduct your business using virtual channels (as much as possible) – there are different skills involved in great video conference meetings compared to in-person.
• Build skills – use the opportunity to develop yourself and your team so you come out stronger than the competition. Leverage online learning, assign an article and set up a discussion, do virtual training. You might think this is not the right time to invest in training, but when better?
• Cross off – things from your “important, not urgent” list that often gets pushed off including networking, updating your LinkedIn profile, reviewing new tools and platforms, etc.
Here are the “DEF” which are ideas for other areas of your life that sometimes get neglected:
• Diversify – read the books you’ve had on your list but haven’t had time to get to. Make sure that you are still being interesting to others by being interested in subjects OTHER than COVID-19.
• Engage – spend more time with your family – old fashioned board games are a favorite.
• Feed Your Soul – start writing that book (or blog), practice your musical talents, spend time in nature, get out your canvas and paint, learn a new skill in graphic design, try out a new recipe from scratch, do some gardening.