One Eye Here, One to the Future: Part 2

Every week is crazier than the last – so we at Adamantine are giving you this moment to pause and contemplate what has changed and what is required of you. We will also be taking this conversation online with you next week – more below.

Last week we took a first look together at the hard truths facing us, without forgetting about the future. This will pass and brighter days will emerge – and we want you to have made the most of this time. We are setting aside our regular Both True format to elaborate on our Seize the day opportunities.

To reset the stage, here are some updates on the trends we at Adamantine are watching, as articulated last week:

  • Political winds. There are a few new winds swirling to the east: (1) Bailout politics may drive climate concessions (check out this LA Times editorial board recommendation); (2) Farther-reaching recession action may mobilize governments toward massive clean energy investment; (3) The outcome of the presidential election is increasingly dynamic.
  • Climate concern will be eclipsed — but not forever. After the initial financial reckoning, investors will undoubtedly return their focus to ESG, climate, and social risk. In March 2020, BlackRock announced that it would not cut its portfolio companies slack during the upcoming corporate annual meeting season. Environmental activism actions, including Friday school protests, are moving online. They will be less effective, yes, but they will also have more available time.
  • What will the future be, anyway? Some industries, companies, and people will use this moment to articulate what the future will be and how they will lead the rest of us into it. As both the LA Times and International Agency links above articulate, visionary leaders will be looking to remake industry, transportation, and the business of work as we know it, building off the disruption of today. Your company should be thinking like that, too.

This is a historic inflection point. Much as with 9/11, we will look back on life before March 2020 and life after March 2020. Will you look back at your time as well spent? At Adamantine, we’ve redoubled our commitment during this remarkable time to helping firms such as yours keep one eye on the future. Here we flesh out our seize the day recommendations from last week.

  • Leaders are made. You really don’t know the measure of yourself until times of uncertainty, upheaval, and conflict. You may not know if you have the strength required for this moment. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career; take a few moments to stake out right now the kind of person you will be during these times:
    • Positive force. Have you been reaching out, making contact, checking in with your boss, co-workers, stakeholders, and team? If your company has employees still mobilizing to the field, or isolated in the field – is someone caring for their isolation, fear, and well-being?
  • Empathetic presence, astute observer. Are you a good listener right now – taking in information and understanding what the world looks like to others?
    • Big-picture thinker. Have you been keeping one eye on the bigger picture – from key relationships, to next challenges, to long-term opportunities and consequences?
    • Glass half-full optimist. Have you taken a moment to be present, find all the little things you can be grateful for, expect some good to come out of all of this?
    • Your authentic self here. What makes you a good leader, boss, employee, co-worker, family member, and friend right now?
  • Stakeholders are watching. You’re starting to think about how your peers, team members, and bosses are handling this — they are thinking about your response, too. What grade do you give your company? Yourself?
  • Think like a community member. As individuals and companies, we have the opportunity to display the kind of thoughtfulness and generosity we mobilize during a natural disaster.
  • Get out of survival mode. Transition yourself into we-are-all-in-this-together mode.
    • Reach out and listen. Learn what your elected leaders, nonprofit partners, suppliers, subcontractors, and community leaders need today.
    • Paralyzed by uncertainty? I know you’re afraid you won’t be able to meet others’ needs. Don’t let that keep you from reaching out – just asking will build a sense of camaraderie and shared sacrifice. Be honest: I don’t know if we can help with that, but my team has a call this week, and I’ll find out what I can.
    • Make a list of key co-workers, clients, and stakeholders. Star those who are likely feeling a lot of pressure, fear, and/or stress right now. Underline those who are particularly important to you. Prioritize your check-ins. We are going to be at this for months. Keep this list handy and check in with these people regularly.
  • Keep some powder dry. New challenges continue to surface every day and will likely continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead. Opportunities for individual and company leaders are everywhere – can you see them? We recommend you do the following:
  • For all your check-in meetings, create time for these two questions: What is possibly coming next? What opportunities are around us right now that we could act upon if we had the resources?
    • Keep two running lists: one of potential new risks and one of current or pending opportunities. Revisit them with your team. Worried you’ll freak everyone out? They are already freaked out. Instead, this kind of planning makes people feel prepared and provides a focus, however temporary, on the future.
    • Continue to remind yourself and your team. This will pass, and we will assess our performance by the standards of hindsight. Are we doing everything we know how to do, right now?

I’ve got more for you, continuing next week. If you need a little personal perspective, you can check out my essay What I wish I did during the last pandemic.

In the next couple of days, you will get an invitation to join our Adamantine One Eye on the Future virtual gathering – or, RSVP here!

As a nod to your newly found reading time and a thank you to Both of These Things Are True readers, I’m offering Accidentally Adamant on sale at cost through April 15th. Grab your paperback or Kindle copy here today.

What do you want to hear about in the coming week? Drop me a line and let me know what’s on your mind. Is your company doing something amazing? I’d like to profile it. If this post was forwarded to you, you can subscribe here.

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