Recovery = Restore + Resiliency + Renewal + Transformation
MAY 15, 2020 – SERIES 6 OF 6

I am often asked what our late cofounder and friend, Melissa Medley, would be saying today during the coronavirus pandemic. The answer lies in one of her 2020 personal goals, “I shall seek to direct my destiny, as much as possible, with the strongest tools I have available; self-discipline, intelligent planning, the power of choice and determined action.”

We may not know where this pandemic is going take all of us, but we can take actions and control as much as possible our destiny with the resources we have.

The first is self-discipline. Working remotely with numerous distractions requires extreme discipline to create some sort of work normalcy. For many of us, we have worked remotely, from hotels, airports, coffee shops and even the side of the road with your hotspot; but working from home is different. It is okay to have a different routine and enjoy exercise and family time at home. But it also requires self-control to stay focused on the core mission, conducting necessary ongoing business and exploring new pathways to success.

Which leads to the second point of intelligent planning. The VisionFirst team thrives in developing strategic plans for a variety of businesses and organizations, i.e. intelligent planning. No matter the client, strategy starts with gaining a complete understanding of the current situation and what is the desired outcome. It is a process that includes discovery, customer feedback, data analytics, benchmarking, understanding barriers and opportunities and the definition of success. 

Much has been studied and written on the power of choice. In uncertain times, choice becomes more critical and have heightened consequences; however, doing nothing is a choice too. We often see leaders become paralyzed in decision making from over analyzation. It is driven by the fear of failure. In a recent interview in Mississippi Today former Mississippi Governor and VisionFirst board chair, Haley Barbour talked about decision making during Katrina. “…you are going to make some bad decisions. When you do, stop and correct the decision,” Barbour said. “Don’t be embarrassed of ashamed to say ‘we messed up, so we’re fixing or changing it.’ A lot of politicians don’t like to do that.” Moving forward, make decisions on the best available data and resources you have and adjust as needed moving forward.

Lastly, we should proceed with determined action.  All too often people become overwhelmed with the situation and fail to move forward. As head of economic development in Mississippi and Florida during unforeseen crisis, it was hard to manage the core mission of the organization and at the same time focus attention on economic recovery. The lesson learned is your core strategy does not become obsolete, but rather has to be adjusted to match the market conditions. This may include reallocating resources, adjusting timelines and communicating different to stakeholder; but the overall strategy remains the same. Having the skill of self-determination will go a long way of staying the course and producing the economic results you want.

Gray Swoope
President & CEO