By GGBA’s President Michael Gunther
2020 is certainly on the list of ‘craziest’ years on record for business owners. We are striving to get through the pandemic, an uncertain economic fallout, and a rambunctious election year — all tied together with fires burning throughout the state. Not to mention the ever-changing dynamics of our office working conditions or outright readjusting how we are delivering our product or service – whew! What a year.
One challenging aspect of all of this is that the ambiguity and stress of these changes isn’t going to dissipate any time soon. The pandemic will continue to unfold with predictions of a ‘dark winter’, and the election results and outcomes are going to test us with ongoing policy and market shifts. Plus, we’re facing the impeding economic adjustments because of all the elements of 2020 coming to a head. Oh, and don’t forget that the social distancing protocols and travel restrictions are going to last well into 2021.
The first thing we need to do as leaders is choose strength over stress during these times. It is through these adverse times that we grow and become stronger – so choose strength. I realize it isn’t always easy to do, but our LGBTQ community has dealt with many challenges over the years and have always chosen strength to deal with all the social, economic and political challenges thrown our way. In fact, we are in a position to prove we are resilient during tough times. We have a track record.
So now is the time for us to lift up our LGBTQ business community and non-profit community. What can we do to ensure their survivability over this coming year? How can we volunteer or give to our non-profits to ensure their sustainability in providing much needed services to our fellow community members?
As business leaders, we are being called on to stretch and drive ourselves to a new level of performance. It won’t be easy, but we must lead the way. We need to be agile in our strategies while adjusting quickly as the marketplace shifts. Focus on creativity and innovation in connecting with our customers and employees in a ‘connectionless’ world to ensure solid engagement. We will bring our emotional fortitude and make the tough decisions early, maintaining our own mental health and acknowledging this ambiguity is not going away soon.
I think we have a responsibility as LGBTQ business owners and leaders to show our resilience and perseverance during these uncertain, stressful periods on our life’s and community’s journey. Let us lead our businesses to long term sustainability so that we can continue to support our community. Let’s strive to be an example of a community that comes out of the other side of these times as stronger. We have shown it before, we certainly need to step up and show it again – strength can come from adversity and ambiguity.