Adversity is a healthy part of life and business, and something that should be welcomed with a warm embrace. To truly thrive through your adversities, it is important to start by assessing yourself and your business environment. When done with brutal honesty, this assessment will uncover what is and isn’t working, where you should apply your focus, and the areas where the company is overwhelmed.

Your honest assessment will be critical for improvement, for only what is measured can be changed. As you put a truthful, unforgiving mirror up to yourself and your company, you should begin to see embellishments — pockets of potential. This isn’t the time for “business-body” image issues.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the uncomfortable truths about myself as a leader and operator?
  • What are the uncomfortable truths about my company and employees?

Place your answers in the first quadrants of the decision matrix below and rate them based on their impact on the business and its customers. 

Decision Matrix

If you find that an area for improvement falls as both low impact on your business and customers, then it can be handled at a date in the foreseeable future. An investment into this area won’t serve the company’s most critical interests. Any items in the low impact on business but high impact customers quadrant should be planned for in the future.

Any item in the high impact on business but low impact on customers should be outsourced or delegated away from your team to free them up for the final quadrant. Not only will this free up internal resources, but it will reduce your costs as well. 

What's left is the fourth quadrant, which is both high impact for your business and its customers. This is where you must embrace uncertainty to strengthen and grow your business. This is where your focus, investment, and effort needs to be funneled. 

Adversity should never be feared. It should always be welcomed. When nurtured correctly, adversity has been known to foster some of the most creative and innovative ideas. These innovations reshape company focus and propel them forward, not just into different areas but to new heights.

It is critical that all leaders in business develop a mindset that adversity makes a company stronger. It creates new areas of opportunity, whether that be new approaches, new investments, new marketing efforts, new strategies to reach more customers.  

While the current uncertainties in our country are daunting, it is important that we remember our business training and experience to guide us. When the market begins to panic, we do not panic with it. Times of panic are the best opportunities for investment and growth. This is not the time to sell and hide, but instead be patient, observant, and ready to strike on opportunity. After every contraction, the US economy rises higher than before. We are a country of innovators. It's in our collective DNA. We will rise again. 

Now that we have a decision matrix box to guide us, it is time to take action. Spend time with your leadership team discussing and workshopping a strategy to tackle the high-priority items in your fourth quadrant.

Remember that it is okay to break the rules, you must think outside of your current box if you want to grow exponentially. There are no rules. It's time to tap into your own greater creativity, leadership, and innovation. It's time to thrive through adversity.