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My COVID-19 Business Journey

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Employee Morale

Now came the real work in keeping the employee morale and company culture intact during this very stressful personal and professional time in everyone’s life. At this point, we were all under the impression that this would be a one-month statewide lockdown. Of course, this wouldn’t be a blockbuster movie without more twists along the way.

“Now came the real work in keeping the employee morale and company culture intact during this very stressful personal and professional time in everyone’s life. "

On March 19, 2020, I started the day with this message from Magnolia Manifesto to my staff:

“As you all are settling in to the new normal over next month, I want you to remember this everyday…That newer is not always better and that there is something inherently good in hard work; That friends who feel like family are the best kind of friends and that nothing matters more than family; That today is a gift and that everyday miracles are scattered about if only we have eyes to see them; In seeking the balance between hustle and rest and striving to be passionate about both: a leisurely first cup of coffee to start the day mindfully and then at day’s end not clocking out from a job till you are proud; That failure need not be a negative thing: rather, we learn from our mistakes and fail smarter next time; In doing work that we love and, in choosing that, nudging others toward doing what they love; In courage, cartwheeling past our comfort zones and trying something a little bit scary every day; That it is time for the pendulum to trend to swing back to the basics; In subtle beauty, the kind that does not deteriorate with age or wear; And of all heroic pursuits large or small, we believe there may be none greater than a life well loved.”

I ended the message with make it a great day! #itislonelywithoutemployees

By mid-day on the first full day of our transition, we were all settling in to the new normal. Little did they know that I had other plans to create something to bring a little excitement to them every day. If nothing else, to lighten the mood from all the negative news the media was reporting. It was time to play Whose office is it? Most employees have never seen the inside of others’ homes, at least not their home offices. I had each employee take a picture of their home office with them in the picture and without and send it in to me. I then sent out all the photos without employees and had them guess whose office they thought it was. This was my way of connecting them and to see that everyone was adjusting to the new normal and we were all in this together. Visual learning, as most of us know, is more powerful, so pictures help.

On March 20, 2020, Ignite Funding hit a milestone funding month with $22,625,000 in loans funded in one month and hit $750M funded since the start of our commercial lending expansion in March 2011. Unfortunately, this was not great timing to talk about how great we were doing as a company when so many others were suffering. We had to curb our enthusiasm until many months later when we did a press release on this topic.

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