Over the past few weeks I’ve been flashing back to a comment made by the CEO of the company I worked for right out of college. He boldly stood at the lectern during an awards program and proclaimed “there is a recession going on and we choose not to participate.” While his energetic proclamation fired up the room, what happened next began a destructive cycle the company never recovered from.




He did nothing, no consolidation, reorganization. No strategy to face the market that caused 13% unemployment in Houston, 24%+ in parts of Louisiana.


I think back on that night many times over the past few weeks. On the Kubler Ross graph, after getting spanked with shock of oil prices in cascading down, he got stuck somewhere between denial and awareness.

No alt text provided for this image


Where are you on this graph? The first days of March began the shutdown of businesses across the US. Across the country, transposing across industries we moved to a state of shock. As we moved our work force into home offices, new processes and systems were being created on the fly. We moved into awareness, frustrated that life was not the same at work, or at home.


When I look at the graph, I see a time frame that we are moving into that is critical. An era, ripe with opportunity, filled with landmines if we make the choice to not do more.


The word PIVOT became a war cry for many of us. For most, over the past few weeks I’ve witnessed those I’ve contacted have reached the acceptance stage and attempting to more forward. Steps are being taken to let go of what was normal, comfortable and beginning to test new approaches and build new skills. If you follow the path of the trajectory of the curve, this indicates that the opportunity for productivity to increase (can I be bold and say surge?) is rapidly approaching.


This means that the next 45 days becomes critical for each of us. Ask yourself this question, what do I need to be doing to raise the bar on my productivity, to experiment in the way I communicate with clients, candidates, teammates, supervisors? There are uncertainties around me as more businesses begin to reopen, people begin to move around causing the market to flex. However, the pandemic did not cause conditions to stop. It created an environment of pause.


At this moment, when the market begins to shudder with people attempting some semblance of getting back to the office, challenge yourself to increase your activity. To ride this journey upward you will have to challenge yourself to try to connect to offer more help, ask for more referrals. Where can you connect with new people while you are maintaining contact with those you have already built relationships?


Has someone thrown out an idea online you can respond to, people you’ve seen who are writing blogs or on chat rooms but there was never time for you to respond or comment? Or maybe to take a leap and even write a blog post yourself. Ghost writers on Fiverr.com can produce copy for you for an extremely reasonable rate.


Where are you taking risks and stretching?


Over the next 45 days, you’ll see 30 blogs from me. That was put on my heart last Monday. If you checked the calendar, you’ll notice that was seven days ago and I’m just now posting. I kept staring at a blank piece of paper (okay, computer screen) finding other things to do that were more comfortable, what I refer to as tension relieving but not goal achieving. So I started telling friends that I would be writing a blog a day for 30 days. The process for me will be to build a system that will produce consistent information output to my clients and those in my network. In order for me to accomplish this, I will be connecting with many of you, comparing notes on subject matter for leadership, recruiting, and business development during turbulent times.


That’s my stretch. One article or blog is easy for me. 30 in the next 5 weeks makes me cringe. But I know it will help me reach #7 which is integrating new skills attitudes and behaviors.


So where are you on the curve? Hopefully at least at #4 acceptance. If not, what do you need to let go of to increase the momentum you are trying to create? Where does your attitude need to shift? What recruiting or business development skill needs to be sharpened? What technology needs to be embraced? What consistency needs to be implemented with vigor something that you allowed to be sporadic or occasional?


#7 Integration requires establishing behaviors that become new norms. When we look at our current circumstances and situations, we shouldn’t be seeking new norms as nothing we are dealing with today is normal. It is our new reality. The next 45 days those we serve will be attempting to climb this transition curve. It will also test our ability as companies, teams and most importantly individuals to manage this curve as well.


I think our new phrase each day needs to be “See you at the top.”


If you want to brainstorm on where you are and steps you could be taking to ignite, reach out to set a time to connect. Happy to help. mike@mikelejeune.com