The first few months of 2020 has already seen many historic events, including an impeachment trial, the beginning of a new US presidential race, terrible fires in Australia, the UK withdrawing from the European Union, a global pandemic that closed – and changed – most of the world, and worldwide protests for justice and against police brutality. While the events in 2020 may not be construed as normal, they are strong reminders of the importance to be prepared and be able to function effectively in times of change or crisis.
Having worked for a Berkshire Hathaway-owned company for several years, I have always been inspired by Warren Buffet and his advice on business and life. Here are a couple of Buffet’s quotes that I feel are particularly relevant on the topic of being prepared:
- “Cash combined with courage in a time of crisis is priceless.”
- “Predicting rain doesn’t count; building the ark does.”
Taking this advice combined with my own thoughts and experience, here are some tips that I feel are necessary in successfully navigating change or crisis:
#1) Have an emergency fund
An emergency fund should ideally contain around 3-6 months of average expenses. For individuals, this can help in situations of unplanned repairs, medical expenses, job loss, etc. For businesses, this can assist with payroll, rent, and other fixed costs during a time of crisis.
#2) Don’t panic/have courage
It’s certainly reasonable to experience fear or even panic during times of change or crisis. However, it’s a good idea to keep these feelings under control, as they can impact our ability to think, communicate, focus, and make good decisions.
We can allow ourselves a mental break from change or crisis with breathing exercises, physical activity, focus on hobbies or activities, and talks with friends or colleagues. Think about positive moments that will prompt you to summon your inner strength and find the courage to push ahead.
Always have a disaster plan. Perhaps its one geared towards hurricanes, fire, or other such emergencies. These are good places to start and can be tailored to other events as they occur. Knowing that it will rain at some point is not enough; have the ark at the ready.
- If you have to evacuate your home, where could you go?
- Do you have someone you could stay with?
- What items would you take with you? (Have important documents in one place and copies as well).
- If something happens to your job or career, do you have connections that can help you find new opportunities?
- Do you have other skills to explore?
- How will you service customers if your physical office/warehouse/store is damaged?
- Is your data protected in the cloud or an off-site backup?
- Are your employees able to safely work remotely?
- How will you communicate with customers and employees during the crisis and provide updates during a business change?
#4) Be proactive
Ensure that your organization follows trends in technology, regulations, and market conditions on a regular basis. Watch for changes that could impact the business negatively as well as opportunities that can help grow your business.
#5) Be flexible
We may not always know what type of changes to expect, but we know that change is inevitable. We must remain flexible and positive. Planning is important, but we must be able to modify plans or change them altogether as we progress.
If we are inflexible or negative, then we risk becoming stagnant and ineffective. In business, it is imperative to have management set a tone of positivity and openness to progress.
I have been fortunate to be a part of Harmony during these unprecedented times. The flexibility, positivity, and work ethics of the team allowed for a more effective transition during the pandemic. Our corporate team was able to shift quickly to a remote environment and still maintain the collaboration, energy, and focus that has made the company successful. Our consultants in the field continued their focus on assisting clients and transitioning between projects when needed.