Weather The Storm

Three weeks into the New Year we finally have some winter weather washing over the country impacting over 50 million people in the northeast. With up to 2 feet of snow in Washington, D.C. this weekend, people are bundling up, buying snow shovels and flashlights. Major travel delays as a result of blowing snow and coastal flooding could make a mess of things while schools, public transportation and airports are forced to close. As I watch the news showing frantic people stripping shelves of bread and milk I wonder if they sit by their frosty windows eating bread and gulping milk to fight off the depression of a winter day.

Lucky for us in Florida winter just means a bad beach day, urging us to pull out our light sweaters instead of our swim suits. Weather affects everything; what we eat, how we sleep, how we feel, and how we work. Weather can often cause a significant financial impact for business owners, not just seasonal businesses; all types of businesses must recognize and plan for weather trends for predicting customer investment habits. Weather changes and delays can also increase the stresses of an important event with deadlines and images of looming disasters creating distractions from the day-to-day practices of running a business of any size. The key, of course, is planning, preparation and aligning your processes. Scheduling and consistency can directly impact sales or cause projects to be postponed involving time consuming or costly catch-up work.

The strategic vision for a company requires developing a decisive plan adaptable to changing markets; they can be product markets or geographic markets depending on objectives or demand. The goal for “weather the storm” in the office place requires a plan implemented with patience, a sense of humor and minimal atmospheric disturbance.

The Rise and Fall During an Election Year

As I get ready in the morning I try and update myself with the latest news in regards to today’s politicians and the presidential campaign. I listen to the news playing in the background, glance at the “breaking news” alerts sent to my phone and hear NPR blasting from my car radio, and all I see and hear coming from these politicians is hatred and negativity. I see angry faces and see nothing productive. When I think of the money, time and energy being spent towards so much negativity, and only hear personal attacks fueled by egos and sound bites, rather than what the politicians will do to solve major problems and improve our quality of life, I turn it all off. Unfortunately I fear we all do; no matter what the presidential elections are about, Democratic or Republican, it’s ugly, loud and unproductive.

In view of past campaigns we have seen candidates using every incentive offered by voters for a lead in the ballot boxes, and it has only gotten worse. As history tells us, our society and its economic fate rises and falls during election years. And in the business world where prosperity is measured in the upcoming election, media messages can be the most harmful demon lurking over our political system.

Since most citizens use what they see and hear in the media to form their opinions in presidential elections, our political culture is a self-replicating epidemic that spreads through the public. This is not necessarily helpful in teaching us the structure of the government system or giving candidates appropriate accountability. The economics and business in our country is strong and we are a fundamentally sound leader in the world, but the rhetoric should be taken for what it is – rhetoric.