Finding Opportunity in Economic Chaos

June 30, 2020 | Matt Haiker

What is “normal?” What is “chaos?” Normal and chaos are not always opposites. Chaos is not always a bad thing. I often think we live in a state of balanced chaos. But right now, we are most definitely in an unbalanced, chaotic economic state. So, what do we do? It’s easy to get discouraged and want to “wait it out” until we can go back to business as usual. But how long is it going to be and has “waiting it out” ever been a good business strategy? I don’t think so. 

One of my favorite quotes is: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” – Sun Tzu. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, I have learned all innovation is a product of some level of chaos. How we manage the chaos as leaders is ultimately what defines us and our businesses. So let’s accept the chaos and find the opportunity! Here are some ways to do that:

Embrace the Chaos: As comforting as it may seem, putting your head in the sand and waiting for things to settle down is not a strategy. Your competitors are moving forward, and you need to as well. Leading by example and bringing positivity and hope to your employees is one of the most important things you can do as a leader right now. Embracing the chaos also means finding new opportunities. Where there are problems, there is a need for a solution. Face the problems and bring the solutions. 

Refocus: Ask yourself and your team some questions… How can you continue to serve your clients and customers regardless of change happening around you? How are your clients impacted and how can you help? What are your competitors doing? Should you be following suit? It is important to refine your differentiators and focus there.

Look Forward: Looking in the rear view mirror has never been an effective strategy for driving business. We may have been hit with change faster than we anticipated but changing with the times is still critical for success. Different times call for different ways of working.  Be proactive to change the way you do business. How can you adapt your service offerings to fill gaps in the market? What do your clients now need that you can create for them? Choosing to look forward instead of the past will allow you to innovate and find the opportunity.

As leaders, we have two options when chaos strikes. Choose to remain the same and hope for the best or embrace the chaos and find the opportunities. It is crucial that you adapt your business to the current economic climate and be proactive in the changes you make. Keep your team top of mind. Connect with your employees and lead by example. In times of fear, bring hope. Navigating through chaos is exactly how leaders are defined. Your responsibility as a leader is to thrive in chaos and find new ways to succeed.  It is your turn to decide. What type of leader are you going to be?