Clear as muck: When the only thing that’s certain is more uncertainty
Monday, October 05, 2020
As we get to the end of what’s been a long and challenging year for most of the world, we can all look forward to … who knows?
We are just under a month away from a presidential election that may or may not have a clear winner on election night. We’re making progress opening up the economy and still controlling the coronavirus — except where we’re not. We’re expecting an effective vaccine to protect us from the virus in the next month or two — or maybe the next year, or maybe not at all. The stock market will react to all of this by plunging down — or heading straight up, or staying about where it is now.
Virtually none of this is clear. Yet, we need to continue to move forward, run our businesses, support our customers, take care of our families. How do you maintain a sense of balance when nothing is certain? Here are a few suggestions.
Get used to living with grey.
Life has never been black and white, but things are more grey — more ambiguous — now than ever before. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon. It’s important that your organization learns how to manage through uncertainty, so you can help your clients and customers do the same.
Stop focusing on what used to be.
You may have been perfectly positioned to lead your organization or your industry forward at the beginning of 2020. But the world’s changed. What worked then is irrelevant now.
Look at the travel and hospitality industries as an example — the best run companies in these industries have had to retool and retrench to be viable entities in the new world.
Look for the new normal.
The chance of going back to “normal” anytime soon is about nil. It’s much more likely that what we used to consider normal may not ever come back.
Get used to the new way of doing things: It’s not just masks and social distancing. It’s also about plexiglass dividers in stores and retail establishments, closer monitoring of even minor symptoms of illness, and more permanent work from home situations. How will your business adapt to these conditions?
Know you are not alone.
Nearly every other business in your industry — and quite possibly on the planet — is going through what you’re facing. Your customers and suppliers are struggling to sort this out, just as you and your employees are. Expectations have been reset, and we need to all behave differently given the conditions.
Help yourself by helping others.
Consider how you can support not just your customers and suppliers, but your local community as well.
Can you donate goods or services to help those in need? Can you create new offerings that will provide solutions to those who are struggling to balance the multiples challenges thrown at them in this environment? In the long term, the market will reward those organizations who have done well by doing good.
Remember: This too will pass. Some days it may seem as if we’ll never come out of this, but there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. The 1918 Influenza epidemic lasted two full years, but the world eventually recovered and moved on. We’ll get past this challenge, too. The question is who well-positioned will you be for what’s next? That’s clearly a good place to focus now.
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