I write these words from my home office. It is Tax Day, or was supposed to be Tax Day. The view I have is to our backyard and the ground is covered with a thin blanket of snow. A week ago, the temperature approached 80 degrees in Chicago. Now winter has reminded us that it always has the last laugh.
Mother Nature often reminds us how uncertain life is. Well, so has COVID-19.
The leader has to. To be someone worth following you have to keep going no matter the cost. Every single person reading this post knows this, and so do I.
But will we?
There is a small nook on our front porch that is partially hidden from view thanks to the overhanging roof. Expecting birds defy any attempts we make to keep them from building nests there. This spring, however, we did not even try to dissuade them. Shouldn’t they have a spot to shelter in place as well? As I write these words a future mother bird awaits dutifully on her nest in our nook. I would imagine she did not welcome last night’s snow. But the sun has come out which assures the snow’s inevitable demise. She will outlast the cold weather, but will she persist through the perils of spring thunderstorms, and the unknown predators lurking in the surrounding field? Her toughest days may be ahead. If she could talk, would she view this dutifully?
Similarly, this crisis is fraught with uncertainty that will extend into the warmer months and possibly beyond.
Do we, leaders, view it dutifully?
Late yesterday morning I made my way out to our plant. This opportunity has taken sole possession of my “number one task” in my daily planner. But it is not a task. It is opportunity to see the eyes and feel the hearts of our team. It is a reminder of the covenant that we have together. This is what sustains me during times of difficulty. And it is the lifeblood to my leadership. Their strength spurs me beyond what words can adequately capture here.
Every leader needs strength from those around them. Doing this alone will not work.
Each day when I get back to my office, I ask myself the question, can one view it – COVID – dutifully?
Because of them, absolutely!
Like the bird, we must!
Harder times may or may not be on the horizon. I suspect they are. But, people like us will persevere through the snow into the sun because that is our duty.
We will persist.
We will survive.
We will because that is our duty.