“You see, but you do not observe.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Obviously, no one ever wishes for the kinds of things we see happening in the world today. There is no way to frame the last six weeks (or more, depending on where you live) as a positive for most people. Too much chaos, too much disruption, too many lives upended, or in some cases, tragically, ended.
That said, we need to try & find things that we can take away as positives out of this experience. In our firm, we really believe that we will never have a greater opportunity to positively impact our clients and our communities than we do now. I know others businesses and leaders who feel the same way.
I would also say that none of us will ever have a greater opportunity for so much learning in so short a period as we do now. We are all dealing with so many things on so many levels that we have the opportunity to grow individually like never before. We all wish it didn’t happen in this particular fashion, but it has, so let’s at use it to improve as leaders.
In an extended period of stress and anxiety like this one, one thing we’ll definitely learn is who people really are. When people are pushed like we all our now, their reality comes to the surface, good, bad, and ugly. As a leader pay attention to your people – who are the ones you can really count on in a crisis? Who are the ones who are able to adapt, who can still function when severely challenged, who maintain a positive attitude despite chaos? Those are the people you can build around in the future.
You’ll also learn about how you function as a business. There’s an old analogy that a rising tide lifts all boats, but when that tide goes out you can see all the rocks. What rocks do you see? Are there things you thought were in good shape in your business that now you have started to question? Maybe is process, maybe it’s planning, maybe it’s IT, maybe it’s something else. What needs to change about how you do business?
I could keep going, but you get the idea. Yes, there are a lot of things coming at us, but as that gradually starts to calm down, we need to be thinking about what’s next. Part of that thinking has to be around what we’ve learned so far in 2020 and what it means for the rest of the year and beyond. Which leads to the second question: Now that you know what you’ve learned, what are you going to do about it?