Leading in Uncertain Times

We did a pretty good webinar recently. Twenty-five hundred people signed up for it. Do you know what the title was? “Leading in Uncertain Times.” Of course, we don’t have any uncertain times here, do we? Ha! Let me tell you three points I shared in the webinar, because maybe it could help us, because we’re all hitting times that are interesting.

The first point is: You have to be a bearer of hope. Some of you might think, “Blanchard, will you stop this? These are hard times.” Hey—I’m going to be a bearer of hope. I thought you could be a bearer of hope, too. Is that always tied into reality? No. But what difference does it make—if you don’t hope, then why don’t you just lie down and we’ll throw some dirt over you.

The second point is that you have to make people your business partners. I want to tell you—in our company in this kind of economic situation we’re going to keep on asking our people whether they have any suggestions. Where can we cut costs? Where can we increase revenue? Our people are our partners. We need everyone’s input. That is so important now.

The final one is to be a servant leader. This is not the time to be self-serving and say that it’s all about me, even though you’re concerned and you have some fears and all. But if you realize that life is about how to serve, not be served, in the process of reaching out to help others and maybe forgetting your own problems for a minute, you know what? Your own problems might be helped. It’s a real simple fact, but I have found it true.

A couple of friends of mine were saying how you can’t deal with hard times if you don’t embrace the good times, and the laughs. Good times are an example of hope. A lot of people are saying how things are really rough. A friend of mine says, “Don’t waste a crisis!” This is a time to change our attitude even when people around us aren’t having the same feeling. Another friend of mine said, “If you can see the future, then what’s the use of faith?” I think that’s really so true. In my locker room in high school, my coach said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And he also said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” So what we really need to do is remember that we have the capability to do anything. Together, together, together! And that’s what we’re going to do this time, okay?

So put your chins up—put your smiles on. Go out and make a difference in people’s lives. And in the process I think we can all continue to make a difference in our own lives. To be bearers of hope, we have to catch people doing things right and celebrate when people go beyond the moment, beyond the circumstances. You know, sometimes in life, you get “in the zone,” where positive things are happening and you can’t explain it. So I was just wondering—how can we encourage each other to get into the zone? How do we help each other go beyond where we ever thought we might be in what we do? Every job is important, whether you’re a visiting professor, or director of first impressions, or shipping, or doing sales, or whatever. Get in the zone. Think about it. How can you get yourself in the zone?

One thought on “Leading in Uncertain Times

  1. Thanks for the webinar summary Ken. The one thing I find challenging, as a healthcare provider, is to be some of the 3 things you mentioned. It’s challenging to be a servant leader to clients who demand me to take care of them when they have refused for years to take care of themselves. It’s a challenge to be a bearer of hope to those who are encountering life-threatening illnesses, and it’s a challenge to engage clients as business partners when they expect more out of you than they want to give. However, I choose to believe that my profession gives me a level of public influence, and that there are people who want to partner with me to get well-from the inside out-and that my service to others gives more to me, sometimes, than I give to others. There is a level of strength and agility that is developed through doing work that sometimes receives little or no thanks. And strength of spirit and intellect are exercised through challenges. The knowledge that I will conquer a little more of myself through these challenges is sometimes what keeps me going.

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