THE BEST OF TIMES
January 2020. Business was booming; full employment prevailed.
Juxtaposed with June 2020: pandemic, economic crisis, riots in the streets.
While we are exhausted physically and emotionally, and some financially as well, there is reason for optimism. Not blind optimism but knowing that we will make the world better.
During the great depression of the 1930s innovation flourished in the United States. The welcoming of immigrants and support of entrepreneurship created a new foundation for our economy. Industrial policy is always a mixed bag, but it funded development of interchangeable parts while land grants built the railroads in the 1800s. The space program created new industries and capabilities such as miniaturization that continue to improve our lives.
The Congressional Budget Office is predicting a 10-year recovery from the COVID economic impact. If we recall “the lost decade” in Japan, it is easy to get frustrated. But if we consider the years 2008-2018 a 10-year recovery, we see a path forward.
You are tired. Your employees are tired and scared. A big rah-rah from your office is more likely to reduce your credibility than rally the troops. Demanding today’s report on your desk in minutes to someone still in shock from seeing a policeman drain the life from an unarmed and harmless man won’t earn dedication.
Now is a time to listen.
Listen to yourself, to your customers, suppliers, employees, investors and your community. Provide support to each of them, as your health and strength allows. Facilitate their helping of one another.
Singing kumbaya will not turn the economy any faster but talking together as a family can. The buzzword of transparency can be the most valuable addition to core values when moved from bingo card to reliable behavior.
The world can once again be our oyster if we consider all the possibilities. The importance of clearly stating assumptions in all significant decisions cannot be overstated. The importance of triggers that alert us when our assumptions start to look questionable cannot be overstated.
Without a mutually caring team the future is quicksand. Don’t wait and see. Speed is your friend, time your enemy. Listen carefully, discuss openly, and know that little is truly impossible when secured by trust and respect.
'It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done…’