2020 June

Leadership Right Now Is Not for the Faint of Heart

by Karen Lehman

These are challenging times!  How many times have you said these words or heard someone else say them?  What makes this time particularly challenging is that so much has been turned upside down. And it happened quickly. All our focus shifted to COVID-19 and its immediate impacts; a global recession, ongoing organizational vigilance and financial stresses, and our own personal anxiety. 

Now that some time has passed, we realize this heightened vigilance is not a temporary situation.  There’s no vaccination around the immediate corner.  People are still testing positive as businesses have started re-opening.  Many are not heeding the advice of experts on distancing and wearing a mask. How do you live with and through this? That is the million-dollar question!

Now is the time to look at your strategy and future if you haven’t started this process already. What is the impact of the pandemic for this fiscal year?  Are there clear operational and strategic changes in direction that need to be made? What is the sustainability of your mission and ministry, not just in this year, but looking toward the future?

The June 4, 2020, Ziegler Investment Banking Senior Living Z-News painted a vivid picture of the impact of non-profit sponsorship transition trends.   Ziegler expects the pace of affiliations, mergers, acquisitions, etc., will not only pick up but will be accelerated because of the impact of COVID-19.   They further suggest that communities going into the pandemic already on edge operationally will come out of the pandemic even more financially vulnerable.

This is a time to take stock of your situation.  How are you positioned to navigate the near and more distant future?  The longer you wait to make strategic decisions, the fewer options you will have and the opportunities that exist today may not exist tomorrow.

Serving in senior leadership and on governing boards right now is not for the faint of heart.  This is likely the most challenging time of our lives.  Strategic and visionary work is hard in the best of times, let alone in the worst pandemic that many of us will ever live through.  Your work requires you to make difficult decisions.  But it also asks of you to prayerfully consider the sustainability of your mission and the future of your ministry. A verse to read as a prayer as you consider decision-making in these challenging times. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

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