Steering the ship may be daunting on the daily, but especially so in times of crisis. Now, more than ever, leaders are left to navigate the COVID-19 maze in the dark. Without the support of a close-knit team to rely on, a room to read and feedback from employees, this is a trying time to make decisions, inspire action and steady losses.
When we find ourselves in situations beyond our level of expertise, it is imperative we turn to others for guidance and support. But, what happens when it’s your name at the top of the org chart? Where do leaders turn in times like this? Other leaders, books and history.
The Polio Epidemic of the 1950s also brought quarantines, deep-seated fear and new ways of living. Businesses were forced to adapt to protect both workers and customers. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Bill McLoughlin interviewed Jerry Epperson in a recent episode of Furniture Today’s “On the Record” podcast. In the episode Epperson, a broker, author and researcher with a deep knowledge of the home furnishings industry, shared the wisdom of his history. You see, he lived through epidemics like polio, tragic events like 9/11 and recessions and, given the mic, delivers the lessons he learned to urge leaders to think differently.
Epperson encourages business leaders to “work with the scenario you have.”
Right now, countless people are working from home – discovering new needs in office furnishings and tackling long-overdue projects inside and around the home. Epperson encourages retailers, “Look at it and plan. Let people know you’re open. This is an opportunity for your store to be a getaway.”
And, as we scan the leadership landscape, we see more and more businesses do just that. Online ordering, curbside pickup, delivery and more. Business leaders are taking cues from one another and transforming the way we work.
Epperson added that every “event” in the past has brought an increase in births. If you’re a furniture retailer or supplier, it might be time to shift your focus or expand your offering for nursery furnishings or home décor.
Insights like this offer a new way of looking at what others define as a “bleak” situation. But, isn’t that a hallmark of leadership? Leaders look for the way out and for the opportunity in crises.
As you’re leading from home, don’t forget to make time to look to leaders around you. Sadly, we’re missing out on Market, which is usually a wonderful time of relationship building, idea sharing and sales. That’s why you must recreate the connections you gain in High Point elsewhere.
Seek counsel and community online. Offer your own advice generously and don’t be afraid to forge creative new partnerships and relationships. Right now, we’re writing the pages of history – speak up and make sure that your voice and company are a part of a positive record.
Reach out to other business leaders with a personal phone call or email, get involved in LinkedIn or Facebook groups, join online discussions and use this unique time to read, read, read. We may never again have the opportunity to open the door to conversation with competitors and those in distinctly different spaces. Let us use it to create spaces where ideas, strategies and stories flow freely.
Take webinars, find courses and devour publications like Furniture World, Home Furnishings Business or Furniture News Magazine. Listen to podcasts, dive into history and use all the information to plot your own unique course. We are blessed beyond measure to have phenomenal technology at our fingertips. Don’t let it be wasted. When leaders pull together online, the furniture industry will rise stronger and smarter on the other side of the crisis...
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About Amber Engine: Amber Engine’s innovative software solutions simplify work and empower people. The company offers full-service e-commerce solutions for furniture brands looking to sell in online marketplaces such as Wayfair, Amazon, Houzz, and many more. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the company's website.