In the March 24th episode of Dr. Jim White’s Opportunity Investing live webinar series, White expanded on last week’s theme of Leadership in Crisis, detailing a comprehensive crisis action plan suitable for companies large and small. White is a celebrated business owner who has bought, expanded, and sold 23 companies, and has decades of experience leading through crises.
The Opportunity Investing live webinar series launched in February 2020 as an outlet for Jim to provide further insight into his highly anticipated March 31st, 2020 release. On the evening of March 24th, 2020, less than one week until Opportunity Investing’s publication, White dove into an important topic discussed in Part 4 of the book, Leadership In Crisis.
Jim White, PhD
Before Dr. White began his leadership session, he issued a warning: “I am not a scientist or a medical professional,” White allowed, “but I am a leader in business.” White continued, asserting to his audience that as we descend deeper into the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s more interested in looking forward than backward. In his action plan that included networks of teams and response plans, there endured one essential recommendation: have a plan and a backup plan for your plan. “Things change rapidly in a crisis,” said White, “the first step to be prepared.” In order to effectively change, adapt, and react in a crisis, White stresses that the most important aspect of leading in a crisis is having the behaviors and mindsets that prevent your team from overreacting, that have you looking forward and following your plan, and knowing when to discard your plan to start a new course of action.
As anticipation and anxiety from Americans grows as a result of mixed messages from the White House and advice from medical professionals, White advises clear, consistent and transparent communication from higher level leadership. White also detailed the team structure and their responsibilities as they deal with crisis.
● Executive Team: This is the team that makes the final decision.
● Response Leadership Team: This team includes the medical advisory team, or if there is no medical advisory team, includes someone who is medically literate. This team gives overall guidance and also interprets guidelines coming from the federal and state government. This team is expected to provide accurate information to the front lines in a timely manner.
● Network Project Management: This team is composed of the experts that handle situations when crises begin accelerating. They are drilling into issues and pulling them back to figure out what the root of a problem is – think of it like peeling back an onion. This team is also generating possible scenarios and how to act on them, while maintaining the operational cadence of the company.
● Action Team: This large team with many facets begins with external communication. White recommends getting a handle on all of your communication, including providing third party communication to all of your partners and vendors. This includes having a current database that allows you to do mass communication.
“Isn’t that amazing how the globe is now so connected? The globe is one with this pandemic.”
The second component of the action team is financial. Dr. White urges completing your financial scorecard, which includes cash flow, P&L, and balance sheet. Following financial is supply chain – which White predicts will be disrupted in some way. A lot of vendors will use crisis as an excuse not to perform, don’t let it affect your plan. The fourth factor of the action team is inventory. Today, we are facing shortages in masks, respirators and other PPE. Shortages are often a result of a lack of planning. Following inventory is employee outreach. Often a champion of communication, White necessitates constant and thorough communication that is transparent and optimistic. “Don’t lie,” White requires, “I am optimistic that we are going to solve this crisis, but I am also realistic that we are going to face financial consequences as a result of this crisis.” White impresses upon the importance of technology in crisis – especially now, as Americans are seeing if their companies have the ability to support the infrastructure of working from home. Real Estate is the final element of the action team, with White explaining that you must have systems in place to manage your buildings and facilities.
The Coronavirus pandemic is testing leaders of all organizations in every sector in the world. Right now no one is immune. “Isn’t that amazing?” White asked, “How the globe is now so connected, the globe is one with this pandemic. We’re fighting a common enemy – the Coronavirus.”
“What we can learn from every crisis is what we can do better. Crisis allows for opportunities to elevate leaders. ”
JIM WHITE, PHD
Dr. White will be returning for his Opportunity Investing launch webinar on March 31, 2020 to coincide with the date of Opportunity Investing’s anticipated release. Dr. White will be joined by special guest Ron Beit – the investor, philanthropist, and CEO of RBH Group behind the Teachers Village projects in many different Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Investing is the essential guide for readers interested in decoding the complex jargon of Congress’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts, and the unique opportunity it is creating for investors interested in dynamic social change. Dr. White’s next webinar goes live on March 31st at 6:30 PM EST and you can register HERE.