Photo by mihtiander /

The headlines lately have been dominated by political news and pandemic updates. With so much uncertainty, it can be difficult to look into the end of this year and the beginning of the next with optimism. Just remember Kanter’s Law: Everything looks like a failure in the middle.

 I came across another quote recently that felt relevant to this moment:

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. – John Maxwell

External circumstances being what they are, if you are in a leadership position in your organization, now is the time to be adjusting your sails. Sometimes you might have to do it daily as you and your leadership crew navigate the latest storms in our ongoing economic crisis.

When I have been asked for advice by business leaders as they face COVID-19, I tell people that your ability to be successful in the coming months will be directly related to the quality of your ship and crew. Hopefully you have made appropriate investments in both prior to this moment. It is much more difficult to reactively institute appropriate business processes or build a new team when the economic environment is chaotic.

The strength of your operation will always come down to the quality of your strategic planning. Is this a process you have in place? Have you invested in human capital such that you have people to rise to meet this moment? If so, you are more likely to survive the challenges of this economic environment, define your “new normal,” and resume your growth journey.

Adjust the sails as appropriate, and then sail on.