To my family......war is never easy, but quitting is never forgiven.
We are faced with the toughest challenges that we as a company have ever had to deal with. When this covid-19 lockdown began none of us knew what to expect or for how long. As it’s unfolded, I have grown more uncomfortable by the day. I quietly and confidentially made a vow to myself that at the end of this every single one of us would have a job. I undertook to ensure that every single person sitting in this room would get paid.
And why not? You did not cause this, nor did you in any way act in a manner detrimental to our family. This is an economic apocalypse, a business cancer that even the best business brains out there could’ve foreseen. The metaphor of Cancer is to my mind the closest description of this crippling scenario. It starts slowly and then spreads to all industries and eventually kills its host............. in this case it kills businesses.
I as your employer have never felt my nerves and my conscious mind so glued to an ongoing treadmill of both fear and frustration. I don’t see this problem as a business problem I see it as a family under severe attack, by an enemy that I can’t just erase with a bullet, or a lawyer’s letter.
Let me make this abundantly clear, you are all integral parts of this family machine, you are not employees nor are you just colleagues. To me you are an introvert, a sometimes overly excited young lady, a young buck with bounds of enthusiasm but lots of learning to still do. You are a mother and a dedicated friend, a sister in law and animal activist. The IT technician turned crime fighter. A silent young man with little to say but great a bright future ahead.
An artist finding his feet in the investigation world, a loyal bookkeeper and constant source of frustration in a welcoming way. The loner and his dog, but loyal to my name for eternity. Each one of you as unique as a fingerprint, but as valuable as my own Mona Lisa.
I will be torn and compromised mentally and physically if any one of you was lost to me because of a situation that I had no say in. That is not an option but if that’s not an option then what is?
Well, I’ll tell you what is.........what is our only option is to accept very uncomfortable times lie ahead, pressure unlike any of us has ever felt before is going to advance straight upon us like the most violent electric storm forced from the bowls of Hell itself. You and I are going to feel like crying, screaming and worst of all quitting many, many more times before this is over.
My family we are going to war.... we are literally fighting for our very lives. Our families and our legacy.
But like all great wars...this one will not last forever, however as historically documented in all the great writings penned by the hands of historians there is going to be casualties , in fact there already are, and to pretend there won’t would be both naive and rather irresponsible.
I have asked for your presence here today because I need to look each and every one of you in the eye and ask of you to stand by me and one another no matter what. To take our fight to the enemy, to charge towards the storm and not away from it. It’s in times like this that you define who you really are. It’s in the future that you will look back at this and either feel deep pride and a feeling of being part of something significant, something that no one can ever take away from us... Or we can fall apart and look back and play the blame game, like so many failures proceed to do.
But I don’t see that from this our motley bunch of misfits, unorthodox personalities and strange but unique personalities. I see a group people who definitely have our backs against the wall, but who have faced down heartbreak and suffered losses before but come through it. I see a chance... a real chance of being one of the few that comes out the other end of this somehow strangely better and more feared by our admirers and opposition than ever before.
The first step before a US Navy seal team leaps into a battle mission is to get commitment from each member. Remember we are only as strong as the weakest link. So, I’m asking you today for your commitment, not in words but in action, in doing things that will feel uncomfortable and most importantly doing all of this while accepting I cannot guarantee there will not be casualties. But I can guarantee that I will not leave this fight so long as I have a family to fight for.
Identify the enemy
- Cash flow, the drying up of payments will destroy us quicker than any other factor. To fight wars, we need funds and to get those we need to fight smaller wars.
- Service our fellow soldiers (clients) they need us as we need them. Let’s not forget why we exist. This war is a chance to strengthen ties and build future relationships. Mark my words a soldier who has shared his blood with you on the battlefield becomes your brother.
- Showing up, not physically but mentally........prepared for making sacrifices that will seem unfair, maybe even beyond normal.....but keeping yourself mentally in check and ready to it again and again every bloody day until we win.
- Keeping one eye on the future, as we fight, we will hear of companies closing just like soldiers hear of fallen friends. But remember there will be a future and we will be part of it.
- Learn to lean on each other, I cannot always be next to you, but we can all lean on each other.
- Control the controllable, no need to waste ammunition on things that we have no control over.
- Cut dead wood, we cannot afford to carry anybody be ruthless but be fair.
- Market like there is no tomorrow as though your very life depends on it. Hustle like a poker player playing his last hand.
- Seek opportunities, they are all over just look properly
- Believe in the 27 years of our existence and why we will get through this
- Read, read now more than ever before, newspapers, internet, books use this time to become a ruthless business machine. A contributor not a listener.
- Trust me, when I say this may not seem like it but this palpable, terrifying and emotional bender will pass.....and when it does I will be the first one to thank you and ensure your dedication and resilience is rewarded.
In closing I want to say individually we cannot do much, but together we can achieve anything.
Thank you and may the universe smile hard upon each of you, every day.