A word from Jeff Smith, CEO, Voltage Leadership Consulting

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” – Thomas Paine

Wow, it has been a crazy start to the new decade. In some ways, the first quarter almost felt like a decade. Can you remember those great plans you had for 2020? I bet many of you were looking forward to a record year or launching a new product or hoping for the chance to get promoted this year. Now what? Many of us are working from home contemplating what we can do to help others, re-win our customers and how to keep our businesses afloat. Before we move to setting a vision for the future, I want you to take a moment to grieve. It is okay to be sad about missing our “old” normal. It is okay to be frustrated that you can’t come to work and be your best self. It is okay to be sad that this will not be a record year for many of you. I know I am bummed that I did not get to finish some work with NYU Langone and I worry about my friends at NYU and I hope they are doing okay.

Okay, you are a leader though and you are going to want to move to action sometime soon if you have not already started.

One of the most important things for you to imagine is, what will the new normal be for your organization? What is your vision for how your organization will look in 3-5 years? I like to ask “What will it take for your organization (and you) to thrive in ’25?” I know this can be hard when you are worried about sales and payroll right now. Yes, we need to come back to that current reality. However, paint the best picture you can of your organization in 2025. What does it look like? What would people be saying about your organization? What would customers say you are doing well? What awards would you win? Got it…okay, who do you need to enlist in this vision?

You are a leader, which means you have followers. They want to be led during challenging times. It is your role to paint the picture, connect your followers with the organization’s mission and values and work with them to create the baby steps to reach the vision. None of us know what the new normal will be but you do know what has made you great in the past. Look at the strengths of your team and your organization and use these to overcome future barriers. Take time to celebrate small wins, recognize the people that are executing the right behaviors to move you closer to your vision, and ask for feedback on how to help your team get there quicker. As you start to have this success, ask the team what they think we need to do next to achieve the next set of goals. This leads to engagement and greater commitment. The better you lead over the next 12 months, the better chance you have to keep your top employees for the next 5 years.

A final thought—this will be a marathon. Please take time as the leader to put on your oxygen mask first. Take a moment in between Zoom calls to clear your head. Get a workout in. Have dinner with your family or a significant other (even if it has to be over Zoom.) You need to take care of yourself so you can lead your team to accomplish goals and execute the vision. Here is a link to a longer blog for some more ideas.


Good luck and let us know how we can help you. The RBTC has many great resources and its strong network is a great asset. Reach out to your network and see who can help you reach your goals

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