Within every crisis lies opportunity. And no doubt, 2020 has presented us with the crisis.

Those who persevered through the Dot.com bust, 9/11, and the Great Recession recognize this and have their own success stories. Most will tell you they emerged more resilient and stronger than before.

Yesterday’s Adversity

My mother, at the revered age of 92, has a compelling perspective. In fact, she is journaling about her experiences in the Great Depression to share with family and friends. Her father lost his job twice during the big one. During both occasions, the family moved to the country farm and bunked in with Grandma.

The good news: on the farm, they always had enough to eat and room to roam. My mother actually has fond memories of this time. Family was important, and close knit. Life’s pleasures were simple. They bucked up and made the best of it. Eventually things improved and they pressed on, pursuing the American dream.

I love that generation; the fortitude, the perseverance, the faith. I also love the wisdom and perspective they can offer to coddled generations like mine in times of trials.

Today’s Adversity

Life as we know it is passing by like those cute little flip books. Place your thumb on the edge and riffle through the pages. Consider today’s flip book. In what seems like seconds, life flies by.

From a financial perspective, there has been an unimaginable loss of wealth. Consider the stock market, IRA’s, 401ks and the value of privately held businesses. These factors have radically impacted anyone that is 50 years old plus. Your retirement plans have just been dashed.

For business owners, if you’re “essential”, you’re just trying to keep the wheels on the track. If not, you’re either shut down, perhaps working remote, and just trying to manage. 

Regardless of how current events have changed your life, be honest. The change and corresponding impact is profound. There are (hopefully) few life changing events we experiencelike this one. This is one.

Today’s Opportunity

I’m in the business of helping businesses succeed. Guiding business owners and leadership teamsthrough normal times provides me great satisfaction. During this time of crisis, I feel a special sense of urgency and an even greater sense of purpose.

Here is one thing that is helping business owners: we all need to understand where we are at the moment and where we need to be moving forward. McKinsey & Company describe five phases a company needs to manage through in challenging times. See the entire brief here.

  1. Resolve – Handling the immediate challenges with employees, clients, and business partners.
  2. Resilience – Addressing near-term cash flow and expense management.
  3. Return – Creating a detailed plan to return the business back to scale quickly.
  4. Reimagination – Mapping out the “next normal” and envisioning opportunities for innovation.
  5. Reform – Gaining clarity about the competitive and regulatory environment in your industry.

Seizing the opportunity will benefit from a systematic and disciplined look at what needs to be done now.

Let’s go!