How to deal with the unexpected as a leader.
On March 11, 2020, the Novel Coronavirus Disease, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. And on March 13, 2020, a national emergency was declared in the United States concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. Life as we knew it would be changed forever.
Coping with this pandemic was going to be a challenge both personally and professionally. So, I took a day to distance myself from everyone and put together a plan to guide those that depended on me to get them through this. I did not know how crazy things would get, but my gut has not failed me too much in life, so I was going to continue to prepare as if I knew what was to come. Little did I know that a blockbuster movie was about to play out.
On March 16, 2020, I met with my management staff to let them know the plan I was about to put into effect and get their input on what I may have missed.
On March 17, 2020, an email was sent to all employees that stated, “The management staff and I are in the process of preparation of putting our contingency plans into place should it be required. In preparation of the plan, I needed to know the following information from every employee; 1) Do you have a home computer? 2) Do you have internet access? 3) Do you have a cell phone?”
I did not want to frighten the employees but I needed this information to finalize my plan and I needed them to know that I was paying close attention to potential outcomes of the governor’s decision that may affect the companies and employees well-being. Thank goodness for my experience as being a CEO of a trust company and that the bank regulations bestowed upon me to have a contingency plan readily available. This coupled with my desires to create efficiency with advancements in technology, the companies were armed to tackle the state shutdown that was about come.
“Thank goodness for my experience... and that the bank regulations bestowed upon me to have a contingency plan readily available. The companies were armed to tackle the state shutdown that was about come. ”
At this point, I knew darn well what was about to happen as I was monitoring very closely the news reports not just locally but across the world. Never in my life did I think Las Vegas would ever shutdown, but it was about to play out in my blockbuster movie. At 5 pm on March 17, 2020, the governor of Nevada ordered all casinos and nonessential business to close their doors by noon on March 18, 2020.
I do not know if it was foresight or my desires for preparedness, but I was ready for what was about to happen. I was not sure my employees were ready, but I was ready to enforce the business as usual approach with a blockbuster twist. Regulators, employees, and our clients now needed to know our contingency plan, and everyone was notified the morning of March 18, 2020. The content of the communication was prepared prior to and disseminated after I had a face-to-face meeting with all employees to go over what was about happen. It is my belief that every well thought out plan should be written before spoken. And once written, read it out loud to yourself to make sure it is understandable and concise. Then surround yourself around the people who are going to help execute the plan to see what you have missed or what needs to be modified. This strategy has allowed me to execute in a way that is organized with a calm demeanor.