What the World Needs Now…

What the World Needs Now…

…is love, sweet love.  This song has been stuck in my head for the past two weeks.

There is no doubt we are in unprecedented times.  We’re scared.  We’re at a loss on what to do.  We’re unsure what will happen with our work, our homes.  And the list goes on.

I made a pact with a friend of mine that every morning on our drive in to work (or via SKYPE when the time arrives), we will start each day with two positive things that happened the day before.

Here was my list today:

  • We have had the best conversations with potential candidates last week and this week. They actually are in a place where we can really talk to them and some of the BEST candidates are interested in what we have to offer.
  • Employers are cautious, but most are holding firm on moving forward because it takes a good 4-8 weeks to get from initial recruiting to short-list presentation, interviews, offers etc. Most seems optimistic that we will be past the worst of this by then, especially if China is our barometer.

Now having said all this, we are keeping a watchful eye on our world and being thoughtful about the safety of our team, candidates etc.  We are very thankful we have the technology to be able to keep people in their homes yet communicating with the outside world.

The world is offering up enough doom and gloom.  As a business leader, I believe it is our role to keep our business’s running as normal as we can given the circumstances.  We need to give some reassurance where we can.  And we need to over communicate next steps in the business.  We’re all trying to quickly establish contingency plans, based very much on the unknown.

I shared a story with my team that has helped me every time I feel like my back is against a wall.  I first heard this story when I was divorcing, and it helped me immensely in not growing too weary during the fight.  I’ll summarize the story:

Be the buffalo and face life’s storms

                                    by Rory Vaden

There is a great lesson about success and leadership from studying the way that buffalos and cows respond to storms.

What cows do is very natural.  Cows sense the storm coming from the west and so they start to try and run toward the east.  The only problem with that is that if you know anything about cows, you know they aren’t very fast.

So, the storm catches up with the cows rather quickly.  And without knowing any better the cows continue to try and outrun the storm.  But instead of outrunning the storm they actually run right along with the storm.  Now they are maximizing the amount of pain and time and frustration they experience from that storm!

Isn’t that stupid?

Guess what, as humans do the same thing all the time.  We spend so much of our lives constantly trying to avoid so much of the inevitable challenges that come along with difficult circumstances that our very own choices keep us in the storms longer.

What the buffalo does on the other hand is very unique for the animal kingdom.  Buffalos wait for the storm to cross right over the crest of the peak of the mountain and as the storm rolls over the ridge the buffalo turns and charges direction into the storm.  Instead of running east away from the storm they run straight through it.  This minimizes the amount of pain and time and frustration they experience from that storm.

Notice how its exactly the same storm.  Its such a great metaphor for all of us because we are all dealing with the same type of storm.

The only choice we have here is how we respond to the storm.

This buffalo mentality became my mantra on how I’ve approached every challenge since I first read the article.  My assistant even bought me a stuffed buffalo, which I have had on my desk ever since and it is in my purse when the challenge takes me offsite (like divorce court).

How are you “being the buffalo” today in your business and personal life?

A couple suggestions to all:

First call of order show compassion – we’re all scared, whether we show it or not. This is perfectly natural given this set of circumstances.

Help each other like you have never helped anyone.  Be that amazing friend who listens without judgment and acknowledges that it is ok to be fearful.  And ask what you can do to make it better- be proactive.

Spend time as a family – the biggest silver lining to this messiness is that families are “forced” (bad word) to come together.  Make a point of having sit down meals together.  Listen to those family members that need more time to process what is happening, and really help them to do so by being a good listener.

Thank everyone on the front lines of the virus – from our health care professionals, grocery workers, farmers, delivery personnel and truck drivers to name a few.  These people are keeping America moving.

Thank those clients that are working with you to help keep your business going.  I know I for one, am so very grateful.

And now is that time when our teams are actually together with the ability to brainstorm!

  • Is there a new revenue stream to explore?
  • Is there anther platform on which the company could be operating?
  • Is there a project and/or service that will improve or enhance your business?
  • Is there a problem that has been lingering for an extended period of time that now would be a good time to solve?

Additionally, you can also take these steps:

  • Reach out to another department and offer to help.
  • Every company has business issues. Analyze and see if there is a new idea you could offer up to assist.
  • Spend time analyzing your competitors. What do they do well that you could duplicate, adding your own spin to it?
  • Study the trends in your industry.
  • Create a “potential projects” list for when it is business as usual again.

The sky is not falling.  Its hard, its tough and we all just want it back to normal.  But how you approach this can make a huge difference.  Come on – let’s be the Buffalo!!