I’m writing this at 5:30 am on Friday, March 13th, 2020. Today was the day we had our annual L3 One Day Leadership Conference scheduled. We were expecting over 300 leaders in the room. On Wednesday afternoon, I started getting inquiries about whether or not I was planning on postponing the conference. At that time, I sought out wise council and did some research. We decided that we would continue to move forward with the conference. On Wedneday evening, the President addressed the virus, the NBA suspended their season, and the City of Pittsburgh encouraged gatherings of 50+ to cancel their events. On Thursday morning, I got more inquiries from leaders as to whether or not I was going to postpone the conference. After seeking wise council, we determined that postponing the conference was the wisest things we could do.
At the same time, at Light of Life, we have been spending a ton of time talking through and planning our response to the virus. Needless to say, this is impacting everyone, everywhere. I’ve made a commitment to myself that when issues like this arise, I will always share a response. So, what is my response to the Coronavirus? Here you go:
Lead with Other’s Best Interest in Mind
As leaders, we are called to lead in crisis, not just when it’s good. John Maxwell often says, “There are no two consecutive easy days in a leader’s life.” The further I go in leadership, the more appreciation I have for that statement. These are not easy times for leaders. Many leaders have had to spend countless hours in the last two weeks making decisions, plans, and creating communications in response to this virus.
Leaders have had to make decisions that will or could significantly impact their bottom line, their teams, their staff, and their families. There have been sporting seasons canceled, theme parks, conferences, weddings, graduations, classes, churches, schools and workplaces all closing, canceled, postponed and impacted. Stock markets, retirement, and entire businesses have been taking a significant hit.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘There are no two consecutive easy days in a leader’s life.’ -John Maxwell” quote=”‘There are no two consecutive easy days in a leader’s life.’ -John Maxwell”]
As I’ve been processing hard decisions and plans through the lens of this virus, one question has helped me make tough decisions: “What is best for the people?”
- In light of everything going on, is it best for the people signed-up for L3 One Day that we go through with the conference or is it best for the people that we postpone?
- In light of everything going on, is it best to encourage people to work from home or to make them come into the office?
When you take yourself and the personal cost you have to pay out of the equation and put people first, decisions become somewhat obvious.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”When you take yourself and the personal cost you have to pay out of the equation and put people first, decisions become somewhat obvious.” quote=”When you take yourself and the personal cost you have to pay out of the equation and put people first, decisions become somewhat obvious.”]
Leaders, whether you are leading an organization, a team, your family, or yourself, I want to encourage you to lead through the lens of consistently asking, “In light of everything going on, what is the best for the people I’m leading?”
Who do you have in your life that you can process hard decisions with? I spent a few hours on the phone this week with leaders I respect asking them for their input into the decisions I had to make as a leader. It was incredibly helpful. Stop going through life and leadership alone. Get wisdom through the counsel of others. We are all in this together.
While making decisions to limit people’s exposure to other people, we cannot forget our responsibility to love our neighbors as ourselves. There some people that do not have a home that they can isolate in. There are some people that even though they have a home to isolate in, they need to be helped and loved. There are some people, like first responders, whose jobs are to be in front of people regardless of the cost.
This is a huge opportunity for us to love people well. Be intentional about finding ways to help local non-profits that are serving those in need. Reach out to your neighbors and friends and see if they need anything. Pray with people. Thank, encourage and pray for our first responders. Spend more time with your family and loved ones. Think of ways to love others. Then act on those ideas. It will change you. It will change them. It will change the world.
Another way of loving people well is to be wise in leading yourself. When possible, at this time, one way for you to love others is to avoid large crowds, wash your hands, clean your house, clean your workspace, to keep social distances from one another. Be wise in leading yourself, its a great way to love people.
Follow the basic steps to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Here is what the CDC recommends: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
In situations like these where media reports may cause concern, it is best to rely on factual information from reliable sources. Therefore, here are links to information about the coronavirus from local, state, and national health organizations:
- Allegheny County Health Department
- Pennsylvania Department of State Health Services
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Communication resources
Be Filled with Faith and Peace
As a person of faith, I am not in a panic or afraid of the coronavirus. If you are believer, you shouldn’t be either. God is on the throne and Jesus died for us.
I believe we are called to walk in peace and not in fear. Our confidence is in Christ. Trust and believe God for his protection and peace throughout this season. Oh, and by the way, you’ll need to do that in every situation and scenario in your life for the rest of your life.
Here are some scriptures that have helped me:
- Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
- Phillipians 4:6-8 – ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
- Psalm 91
Use this as a time to draw closer to God. If you don’t have a relationship with God, just pray to him. The Bible says when we draw close to Him, He draws close to us.
Stay Connected with People
The Coronavirus is isolating a lot of people. Laura and I strongly believe that we should never do life alone. While physical gatherings may be limited in the weeks to come, we want to encourage all of you to connect with people more. It doesn’t have to be in person. Call and Facetime your friends and family. Use this time to get closer with your family.
In 2019, Laura and I realized that we did a horrible job of being good friends and staying connected with people. We became isolated not because of a virus, but because of busyness. It’s one of our biggest regrets. We determined this year to be extremely intentional in connecting with others. It’s been changing our lives.
Bob Goff said, “We’ll determine how influential we will become when we determine how available we will be.” Let’s determine to connect with people more than we ever have.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”‘We’ll determine how influential we will become when we determine how available we will be.’ ” quote=”‘We’ll determine how influential we will become when we determine how available we will be. -Bob Goff’ “]
What can you do today to connect with people?
At the end of the day, this is a real issue. We don’t want to overreact, but we don’t want to underreact either. What can you do today to:
- Lead with others in mind
- Get wisdom
- Love others
- Be Wise
- Get Educated
- Be filled with faith and peace
- Stay connected with people
I hope this encouraged you and helped you process the coronavirus. I’d love to hear any input or feedback that you have. Laura and I love you. Go love people!