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How to Get Stronger During a Crisis

What happens when the money spigot is turned off? I’m observing two very different scenarios playing out.

When people believe their only purpose in life is to make and produce money, the moment their money is threatened, it rips the rug right out from under them. An organization who defines themselves by weekly (or daily) revenue reports doesn’t have a way to ground its people.

When the North Star is money:

  • Crisis hits, money declines: Oh no, our purpose is at risk!
  • Everyone scrambles around trying to shore up the money.
  • Leaders start to panic, the team panics.
  • Customers feel the pressure and angst.
  • The team starts to believe all our leaders care about is money.
  • Morale declines, customer trust erodes.

When the crisis is over, you’re left with a transactional organization, dispirited employees and a tenuous customer base. The organization is weaker than before the crisis. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s the alternative:

When your purpose is to make a difference for customers and the community:

  • Crisis hits: Reset to purpose, remind each other why we’re here.
  • Leaders ask how can we support our customers and each other?
  • Team rallies together to help customers.
  • Customers see the commitment.
  • The team believes our organization makes a difference to customers.
  • Team is bonded to each other, customers feel connected to organization.

During a a crisis, no one stays the same, people and organizations either emerge stronger or weaker. If you can avoid panic, and think about why you and your organization exist, you will:

Lay a foundation for future growth: After the recession, firms with a purpose bigger than money outperformed the market by over 350% (Research from Jim StengelGrow). Most of these firms didn’t drive exponential revenue growth during the recession.But after the recession, the goodwill and trust they had built with their employees and customers drove outsize results.

Build personal confidence: When people who define themselves by money, they lose their center very quickly. In a crisis, the best way to build confidence is to focus on others. Helping your team and customers makes you part of something bigger than yourself.

Your net worth is not your self worth. In times of challenge, reset yourself and your team towards a bigger purpose. It might not help you make more money in the moment, but it will most certainly help you be more successful in the future.