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This post is an archive of the Growth Through Disruption newsletter sent April 16, 2020. Click here to subscribe and join tens of thousands of leaders across the globe growing through disruption together.


Things are tough right now. Really tough. I have spoken with several people in the last few days who are struggling—sick, depressed, grieving.

I also acknowledge that many things could get worse before they get better.

But recently I was reminded that while many of us are sick, many are also healthy. While one side of the street is in deep shadow, the sun shines on the other.

In a conversation with John Graham, CEO of 1-800-Contacts, he shared that because people can't go to the optometrist, his business is growing. Because of contingency planning, they have money in the bank to pay their people for several months, even without revenue. Because they rethought the organization of their warehouse to protect health—early on—sickness has so far been limited. He can now spend his time addressing the emotional needs of his workforce, even as their business grows.

People are ill and dying. But not everyone is. Most aren’t. There are billions of people who are, in fact, healthy. Businesses are struggling. Not every business; there are businesses that are healthy, healthier than ever before because of this disruption.

That's reality and it’s important because healthy people and healthy businesses are going to help us move forward.

It feels forbidden to talk about it. Nobody wants to be cavalier about the public health crisis. Least of all me. No business wants to gloat or open themselves to criticism for being healthy. If everyone is sick, they should be sick too. Misery loves company. Survivor’s guilt.

The macro situation mirrors the micro ones. Your personal situation and mine.

There may be parts of your life where you are weak, but other places where you feel strong. Some things are working, or could work, even as others may be falling apart. A few months ago, we talked about the importance of not emphasizing people's weaknesses in a 360, but instead the strengths. A 360 often focuses on weakness for the purpose of self-improvement. But there is great value in identifying strengths, places where excellence can be developed. Strengths are the springboard.

So, while we prepare for the worst, we also need to look to our sources of strength and bolster them to get stronger. What is strong for you, your family, your career that can help succor and heal the sick and restore us as a society and world to health?

Our podcast guest is Mark Johnson, co-author of the recently published Lead from the Future. A timely book—and interview—because the future is going to be different than any of us anticipated even a few months ago. Figuring it out and preparing for it––not just coping––is the next great challenge of the present. (Incidentally, in the podcast he talks about Johnson & Johnson as a company preparing for the future. This morning J&J announced that 600-800 million vaccines for COVID-19 would be available by 2021).

Finally, Esperanza Spalding to uplift, and a way for you and/or your children to serve. Generus has partnered with Meals on Wheels in the Greater Boston area and is coordinating the creation of make-at-home videos as virtual visits for seniors. 5000 isolated seniors will be the grateful recipients of the fruit of your kind hearts.

Here's to leaning on our strengths to make us collectively stronger, to not just cope with, but accelerate out of this disruption.

My best,
Whitney

 

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