When a crisis hits, our time horizon slams us in the face. Whatever long term plans we were working on go out the window. We must suddenly deal with the present.
We know from neuroscience that a crisis typically throws people into fight or flight mode. We either freeze or we get angry. Sometimes, these feelings and actions are productive. They might even keep us alive. But for a crisis like the current pandemic, freezing or being angry are not productive. The job of a boundless leader is to get the focus back on the future so people can get on with productive practices and activities. We need it and our teams need it.
To make this mental move we have to make a conscious choice and we have to keep pushing our attention forward.
In the hours after the first shelter-at-home orders came out, my company’s brand team quickly re-edited our main TV commercial precisely to push people’s attention out beyond the crisis.
They replaced the prior version’s words to fit these strange times: “Our world looks different now. But we know brighter days will come. Our community is strong. We’ll drive together soon.”
Beyond being a good corporate message, it’s a good human message, and one that has touched many hearts.
We need to be productive now. We need to be looking to the future. Our community – meaning everyone across the nation and around the world who is fighting this battle – remains strong.
We’ll all be together again soon, doing the things we love.
Until then, stay well.
Onward and upward.