It was Winston Churchill that first said: "Never let a good crisis go to waste".
Now, more than ever, I think this is a quote worth remembering.
As a small business owner, I experienced a really big crisis in January 2016. At the time, I had a team of less than 10 employees, and within the first few months of the year, we lost almost every member of our team due to personal situations in the lives of our employees – illness, loss of family members, personal trauma, and other personal challenges. We called it a “staffing tsunami”.
That was really really hard, both emotionally as I was worried about the personal well being of our team members, and of course that stress was compounded by my concern for adequately servicing our clients. In fact, it was my biggest business crisis.
I’m happy to say that not only did my business survive, it thrived. The crisis actually worked in my favour. Of course, I am human, and I made a lot of mistakes.
And yet, I massively grew my business skills – I’d estimate my personal and leadership growth during that time as the equivalent of ten years in one year.
I became more focussed. I made better decisions. I became more resourceful. I found the right advisors and resources to help me navigate through the tsunami.
What I learned is that crisis can help us to re-examine our business, what is working, and what is not. It can help us to recommit. It can create opportunities we weren’t able to see before. It can force us to make better decisions. It can help us to become more responsible about how we respond.
I know, right now, it is hard to think about a longer term vision.
For me, right now, I am focussing on the next 3 months. I have written my goals and review them daily, so that I remain clear about what success looks like. Success right now is about making sure my team is coping with the new challenges that unfold almost daily. It’s about communicating more frequently with our clients, to give them the information, tools, and confidence they need right now. I’m making sure I continue to stay on track with my own personal healthy habits; sleep, exercise, diet, meditation, and journaling. And, I’m stepping up to the plate to help other business owners succeed by working with some businesses one on one. I want to help keep them afloat, and help them find their lifeboats.
Yes, this is a crisis. To help me continue to navigate, I’m posting Churchill’s quote where I can see it often.