01 September 2020

Never Golf Alone

"You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about."

--Bobby Jones (First person to achieve golf's Grand Slam in a single year--1930.)

You can take the game of golf a long way in life.  At least that's the message I repeat often to our grandsons, Lucas and Brody when they visit during the summer in Michigan.  Last year I signed them up for lessons to work on the fundamentals of the game.         

Golf is also filled with lessons for life and business if we know where to look.  Here are five that come to mind:

1.   Guided experience.  Sometimes we cut a unique path on our own but for most, it helps to have someone show the way.  In golf, that person was Bob Smith.  He combines a low handicap with a gift for teaching.  (Bob eventually became a college professor.)  

He knows how the game is played, etiquette, too.    

In the spring of 1961, my parents bought me a set of essential clubs for beginners and a Scottish-plaid golf bag at Montgomery Ward in Owosso, Michigan.  As soon as the snow melted, Bob and I were teeing up at Corunna Hills Golf Course for my first game.  

After nine holes and 99 strokes, I thought the worst was behind me.  That was wishful thinking.  I would need a lot of practice and an improved mindset to continue playing this game. 

Nevertheless, Bob Smith opened a door that remains ajar. 

2.   Framing the day.   As I am walking out the door each Monday morning for a golf outing with our neighbors, my wife Chris says--"Make a hole-in-one today."  

Beginning any day with a clear goal increases the likelihood of getting something done.  

Successful people manage themselves by having purpose and clarity in their lives. They know that if everything is important, nothing is important.  Their day is fashioned so it's productive in the right areas.  Being focused is a good way for leadership to minimize distractions and stay on task. 

3.   Timely coaching.  Just as Bob Smith was a morale-booster in the early days so are golfing partners John Shoup and Duane Pierce presently.

In fine-drawn ways they remind me that managing one's attitude is critical for doing well. Ultimately we play against ourself--and less against others.   

Russ Bredholt hole-in-one. Number nine, Red Course, par 3, 124 yards.
Hickory Ridge Golf Course, Galesburg, Michigan.
24 August 2020 (C)

Both witnessed our hole-in-one and knew what to do. See if the ball is in the cup. Take a picture for the record.  And confirm that the golf ball, a Pinnacle, was mine. 

It was.  

On the way home we celebrated by having lunch at Scooters Malt Shoppe.  Guess who paid?

4.   A game of character.  Golf is popular, someone said, because you can name your own score.  Between the tee box and final putt, each golfer in the amateur ranks is really on their own.  Keeping track of your score becomes a matter of personal responsibility.  

Using fuzzy math is unnecessary.  If tempted--don't yield.  It's not worth it in life or sports. Unless you're on the PGA tour or playing tournament golf at your club, no one except you cares about your final score.
5.    Don't give up.   About 3 million golfers quit each year and a similar number begin, according to the National Golf Foundation.  When I picked up my golf ball from the cup on the ninth hole of the Red Course at Hickory Ridge, I was relieved I hadn't stopped playing the game.

Just a few good drives, chips, or putts, strategically placed, were enough to keep me coming back one more time.  

The same is true in organizational life.  A few good days, properly placed, can help us make progress, even in the midst of a pandemic.  

Don't give up on yourself, your recreation, or the business.  There's more to be gained by persevering than quitting, regardless of your lot in life.  


© Bredholt & Co. 




01 August 2020

50 Years

Chris Bredholt 

The Wife of Noble Character

An excellent wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels. 
The heart of her husband trusts in her, 
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.

She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hands to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

--Proverbs 31 (ESV)


©  Bredholt & Co.

01 July 2020

1968--A Chronology

"History never looks like history when you are living through it."

--John W. Gardner

Certain events of the past several months are being compared to 1968, a period that Newsweek described as "The Year That Changed Everything." 

For some perspective, here's a selected chronology of a tumultuous twelve months played out on network TV screens (ABC, CBS, and NBC) 52 years ago.  We were witnesses and participants in a  divisive epoch that one person described as leaving the Baby Boom generation "stuck in the 60s decade."  

o January 5--Prague Spring begins.  Alexander Dubcek is chosen as the leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

o January 14--The Green Bay Packers defeat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, 33-14, at the Miami Orange Bowl.

o January 21--Vietnam War. Battle of Khe Sanh, one of the most publicized and controversial battles of the war begins, ending on April 8.

o January 22--Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In debuts on NBC.

o January 23--North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo, claiming the ship violated the territorial waters while spying.

o January 30--Vietnam War. The Tet Offensive begins, as Viet Cong forces launch a series of surprise attacks across South Vietnam.

o January 31--Vietnam War. Viet Cong soldiers attack the U.S. Embassy, Saigon.


o February 1--Vietnam War. A Viet Cong officer name Nguyen Van Lem is executed by Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese National Police Chief.  The event is photographed by Eddie Adams. The stunning picture makes headlines around the world and wins the Pulitzer Prize.  

Eddie Adams' iconic Vietnam War photo: What happened next - BBC News
Execution of Nguyen Van Lem. (C) Eddie Adams

o February 6-18--The 1968 Winter Olympics are held in Grenoble, France.

o February 19--NET televises the very first episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

o February 24--Vietnam War. The Tet Offensive is halted.  


o March 7--Vietnam War.  The First Battle of Saigon ends.

o March 12--U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, barely edges out antiwar candidate Eugene J. McCarthy in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.  The close vote highlights deep divisions in the country and party over Vietnam.

o March 16--Vietnam War.  My Lai Massacre where American troops kill scores of civilians.  The story becomes public in November 1969.

o March 18--The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back the U.S. dollar.

o March 23--Coach John Wooden's UCLA Bruins defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels coached by Dean Smith, 78-55.  It was UCLA's fourth title in five years.  They were led by All-American Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabar).

o March 31--U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, announces he will not seek re-election.


o April 2--The film, A Space Odyssey, premieres in Washington, D.C.

o April 3--Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, delivers his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech in Memphis, Tennessee.

o April 4--Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot dead at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  Riots, lasting several days, erupt in major American cities including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Baltimore, and Kansas City.

o April 11--U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

o April 23--Several hundred students gather on the campus of Columbia University in New York City. Student protestors occupy several buildings for nearly a week over institutional expansion.

o April 23--The United Methodist Church is created by the union of the former Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches.


o May 11--The Montreal Canadians defeat the St. Louis Blues in a four-game sweep to win the Stanley Cup.

o May 14--The Beatles announce the creation of Apple Records in a New York press conference.

o May 18--Mattel's Hot Wheels toy cars are announced.

o May 30--Bobby Unser wins the Indianapolis 500.


o June 4--The Standard & Poor's 500 Index closes above 100 for the first time, at 100.38.

o June 5--U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  Sirhan Sirhan is arrested.

o June 6--Robert F. Kennedy dies from these injuries.  He was 42.

o June 8--James Earl Ray is arrested for the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.


o July 13--The 1968 global flu pandemic. Influenza A virus subtype H3N2 first recorded in Hong Kong and in the U.S. in September 1968.  The estimated number of deaths worldwide was one million and about 100,000 in the U.S.  Most deaths were in people 65 years and older.  The H3N2 virus continues to circulate globally and is associated with severe illness in older people. 

o July 18--The semiconductor company Intel is founded.


o August 5-8--The Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominates Richard M. Nixon for U.S. president and Spiro T. Agnew for Vice President.

o August 20-21--Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.  The "Prague Spring" ends as 750,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 6,500 tanks with 800 aircraft invade Czechoslovakia.  That invasion was the largest military operation in Europe since the end of World War II.

o August 22-30--Police clash with anti-war demonstrators in Chicago outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert H. Humphrey for U.S. president and Edmund S. Muskie for Vice-President.  The riots and subsequent trials are part of the activism of the Youth International Party.


o September 8--Arthur Ashe wins the first U.S. Open of the Open Era, also becoming the first black to capture the title.

o September 14--Detroit Tigers' pitcher, Denny McClain, becomes the first baseball player to win 30 games in a season since 1934.  He remains the last player to accomplish the feat.   


o October 8--Vietnam War.  Operation Sealords gets underway as the United States and South Vietnamese forces launch a new operation in the Mekong Delta.

o October 10--1968 World Series.  The Detroit Tigers defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the best of 7 series, 4 games to 3, after being down 3 games to 1.  The final score of game seven played in St. Louis--Tigers 4 and Cardinals 1.  Mickey Lolich (3-0) is the winning pitcher and Bob Gibson (2-1) took the loss for the Cardinals.

o October 11--NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission (Wally Schirra; Donn Eisele; and Walter Cunningham).  

o October 12-27--The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico.  After being awarded gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter sprint, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos bow their heads and raise their hands during the playing of the National Anthem.    

o October 31--Vietnam War.  Citing progress in the Paris peace talks, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation "of all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam effective November 1."


o November 5--U.S. presidential election.  Republican candidate Richard M. Nixon defeats the Democratic candidate, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, and American Independent Party candidate, George C. Wallace.

o The Heidi Game--NBC cuts off the final 1:05 of an Oakland Raiders v. New York Jets football game to broadcast the pre-scheduled Heidi.  Fans are unable to see Oakland (which had been trailing 32-29) score two late touchdowns to win 43-32.  

o November 24--Four men hijack Pan Am flight 281 from JFK International Airport, New York to Havana, Cuba.


o December 9--Douglas Engelbart publicly demonstrates his pioneering hypertext system, NLS, in San Francisco, together with the computer mouse.

o December 11--The film, Oliver!, based on the London and Broadway musical, opens in the U.S. and goes on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

o December 24--Apollo program.  The manned U.S. spacecraft Apollo 8 enters orbit around the Moon.  Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William A. Anders become the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and planet Earth as a whole, as well as having traveled further away from Earth than any people in history.  

APOD: 2018 December 24 - Earthrise 1: Historic Image Remastered
Earthrise, Christmas Eve, 1968, Apollo 8 Mission. (C) NASA

Anders photographs "Earthrise."  The crew reads the story of creation from the Book of Genesis.  


Timeline USA:  Digital Public Library; History.com; U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)


©  Bredholt & Co. 

01 June 2020

Disney's Dilemma

"If they don't want to come out, nobody's gonna stop 'em."

--Yogi Berra, Baseball Hall of Fame Catcher, New York Yankees (1946-1963)

The Walt Disney Co. submitted plans to reopen four U.S. theme parks in July. (Shanghai Disneyland reopened on 11 May.)  As a result of the global coronavirus outbreak, Disney announced the closure of its parks on 12 March 2020.   

The request has been approved by the Orange County, Florida Economic Recovery Task Force, and Mayor Jerry Demings.  On 29 May Gov. Ron DeSantis signed off on the plan. 

The reopening schedule looks like this--

--The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom:  11 July

--Epcot and Hollywood Studios:  15 July

Disney Springs Complete Guide - Al's Blog
Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
(C) Walt Disney Co.

Disney Springs (formerly Disney Village and Downtown Disney) reopened 20 May with CDC guidelines for social distancing in place.   

What about Disneyland in Anaheim, California?  Perhaps in June as part of California's Stage 3 road to reopening.  As to resort hotels in Florida, it looks as though some could reopen 11 July along with the Disney Vacation Club, all with safety guidelines and cleaning procedures in place.  

Universal Studios will reopen on 5 June with limited capacity.  SeaWorld is opening its three Orlando parks, including Discovery Cove and Aquatica, on 11 June--one month ahead of the Disney schedule.

The proposed Disney dates, if kept, will show why predicting can be a fool's errand.  On 22 April John Hodulik, managing director of research at UBS, wrote to his clients giving a date of 1 January 2021 as "our base case" for reopening.  

Scaling down

Google returns 97 million pages when you search "scaling up" on its website. "Scaling down," which is like looking through the opposite end of a telescope, instantly returns 104 million pages.  

Over the last decade "does it scale?" became a mantra for manufacturing, start-ups, high tech, retail, and financial services. 

Now, businesses are looking to move in the opposite direction to meet reopening guidelines keeping employees and customers safe.  As there is a cost to increasing health and safety measures, can businesses function this way and be profitable?  


The Florida Disney parks will incorporate protocols from the county, state, and federal governments.  But Disney cast members will also be learning from their sister park in China which will have been open two months to the date when guests walk through the gates at the Magic Kingdom.  

Mickey Mouse Lovers - Home | Facebook
"Welcome back!" Mickey Mouse
(C) Walt Disney Co.

From the proposal submitted the last week of May, here's what to expect in the near term when returning to the "most magical place on earth:"

1.  Disney is placing limits on attendance and controlled guest density.  Guests will be required to make a reservation for a particular day.

2.  Events that draw big crowds--such as parades and nighttime spectaculars/fireworks--will not return until later.

3.  High-touch experiences like makeovers and playgrounds will not be available from the start.

4.  Character meet-and-greets will be unavailable upon reopening, but characters will still be out in the park.

5.  Guests ages 3 and up will be required to wear face coverings.

6.  Guests and cast members will be screened for temperatures before entering the park (as they are doing at Shanghai Disneyland). 

7.  The parks are encouraging cashless transactions.

Additionally, Disney issued a COVID-19 warning on its website-- 

"By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19."

In its proposal, Disney did not say by how much capacity will be capped at the parks as there is a corporate policy of not officially disclosing attendance figures.  However, daily capacity will probably be calculated on the 6' distancing guideline.   

This is a monumental task as Disney cast members will be stretched to manage the parks and monitor healthy behavior at the same time. 

A shock to the system

Walt Disney Co., with total 2019 revenue of $69.5 billion, is an entertainment giant that one news headline recently described as a "Stricken Empire."  

The Walt Disney Company - Wikipedia
Walt Disney Co. Headquarters, Burbank, California
(C) Walt Disney Co. 

Just over 100,000 employees have been laid off.  To further address costs, executive pay was cut up to 50 percent and Disney took out a $5 billion line of credit to boost liquidity.  That was in addition to $8.25 billion the company secured in March.  

Dividends?  Not at this time.

Bob Iger, executive chairman and former CEO who built this $239 billion enterprise over the past 14 years, decided in February to retire as chief executive officer.  Mr. Iger said on CNBC, "I don't want to run the company anymore."  The Board of Directors selected Bob Chapek as CEO with Mr. Iger overseeing creative content at Disney through 2021.

Then in March 2020, the world stopped spinning.

One observer expressed it this way, "Disney's vastness has become a liability.  ABC/ESPN. Disney Cruise Line.  Stage shows.  Disney Stores."  Launched just five months ago Disney+, with more than 50 million subscribers, is a bright spot as many adults and children are at home. 

What's Disney's dilemma?

The Wall Street Journal noted that "much of Disney's business rests on its ability to draw people into crowded spaces including theme parks, hotels, ships, sporting events, and movie theaters. The return of such massive entertainment options at any point this year remains questionable."

Disney's dilemma, then, is having to operate profitably, at reduced capacity, with guests' social distancing.  All that inside a fixed-cost business model driven by increased volume, high density, and large-scale venues.  

At 1:15 p.m. on New Year's Eve 2019, Walt Disney World issued an alert that the Magic Kingdom, which averages 57,128 guests per day based on estimates from Theme Park Tourist website, would stop accepting new guests.  When will that happen again?   

Managing risk

The future depends on factors no one controls--COVID-19 treatments and vaccines; employment levels; airlines staying in the air; and households willing to travel.  A survey by U.S. Travel found that only 18% of adults currently feel safe about flying.  

Willingness to travel more than 300 miles from home is going to weigh heavily on the success of reopenings at Disney and other destination resorts.   

Disney World's Magic Kingdom temporarily stops admitting new ...
The main entrance to Walt Disney World in Florida.
(C) Walt Disney Co.

According to a 2017 Money Magazine study, a family of four visiting Walt Disney World may spend about $6360 on average, for flights, hotels, souvenirs, food, and park tickets during a four-night trip. 

Knowing the cost Disney management and cast members will undoubtedly be working hard to show guests there's still "magic" in the Kingdom.   


© Bredholt & Co.


01 May 2020

A Pandemic Polarity

"We started knowing nothing.  We know a lot now, but we still don't know everything."

--Dr. John Ioannidis, Stanford School of Medicine

Is the COVID-19 disease, and its uneven devastation, a worrying problem to be solved, or a health and economic polarity to manage?   

As of 30 April 2020, there are 3.1 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and 227,638 deaths.  Total cases in the U.S. are at 1.03 million and 60,967 deaths. (Johns Hopkins for Systems Science and Engineering; USA Facts)

Heading into May U.S. unemployment claims rose to more than 30 million as the coronavirus pandemic continued taking a financial and emotional toll on American life.

What's the status of other diseases?

Data for 2018-2019 show 35.5 million estimated cases of influenza in the U.S. with 490,561 hospitalizations and 34,157 deaths.  Flu vaccines are available and highly recommended at the beginning of each season.  (CDC.gov)

Nearly half the world's population lives at risk from malaria. In 2018 there were 405,000 deaths from this disease. The overwhelming majority are among children five years of age and younger.  And 80-90% each year are in rural Sub-Saharan Africa.  The nature of malaria, a single-cell parasite, evades the human immune system.  (Center for Strategic and International Studies; CDC.gov; and WHO.int)

Smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been eradicated.  (World Health Assembly)

Problem or polarity?

In his book, "Polarity Management," Dr. Barry Johnson, offers criteria that are helpful in knowing how to decide:

1.  Is the difficulty on-going?  

Problems to solve have a solution that can be considered an endpoint in a process, i.e. they are solvable.

Polarities to manage don't get "solved." They're ongoing.  We're always in the process of solving them, but they don't have a clear, endpoint solution.   There's a never-ending shift in emphasis or focus from one pole (safety) to the other (work).  "Managing" is perhaps the best way to describe this arrangement.

2.  Are there two poles which are interdependent?

The solution in problems to solve can stand alone.  Polarities to manage, require a shift in emphasis between opposites such that neither can stand alone.  It's a both/and difficulty.  The pair are involved in an on-going, balancing process over an extended period of time. 

For example ...


Until there's a vaccine, the wisdom required of government and business leaders is to manage the increasing tension (polarity) of a carefully reopened economy while protecting the most vulnerable in the population.  All within the framework of civil liberties.

Like Malcolm Turnbull, the former Australian prime minister said recently, "There would be nothing more tragic than if, in our efforts to preserve our health we were to lose our freedom."      

What are people thinking?

In addition to tracking progress on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, it's also important to keep up with the public opinion trendlines as consumers are 70% of the U. S. economy.  

When does the public want business to reopen?  As of the end of April, here are what pollsters found:

o 62% of U.S. adults are worried businesses in their community will reopen too early compared to 38% who are worried they'll reopen too slowly.

o 52% of U.S. adults say the coronavirus outbreak is more of a health crisis, while 47% say it's more of an economic crisis.  The latter group is split between Republicans at 70% and Democrats at 24%.

o 45% of U.S. adults say non-elective surgeries or doctor offices should reopen immediately in their area.

o 41% of U.S. adults expect their life will be mostly back to normal in three months.

o  7% of the public agree sports venues, concerts, and large gatherings should reopen immediately.

o An overwhelming majority of the public isn't ready to fully reopen.  More than 9 in 10 U. S. adults are opposed to opening up everything.  But many would be okay to see some easing, with just under half (45%) wanting to see non-elective surgeries return immediately.

o The public is more worried about the health crisis than the economic one.  58% of U.S. adults say they're more worried about their own health versus 40% who said their economic prospects.  

But as more households see their finances strained by the contracting economy, that number could shift soon.

o Low-income workers are most worried about health risks over economic prospects.  Among workers making under $50,000, 18% said they have lost their jobs, compared to 6% of workers earning over $100,000.  Yet low-income households are more concerned with health risks right now.  Highly-paid workers are the ones most concerned about their economic prospects.

o Republicans are worried we'll reopen too slow.  Democrats worry it will be too fast.  85% of Democrats worry businesses could reopen too quicky versus 45% of Republicans.  On the other hand, 57% of Republicans worry businesses will reopen too slowly (15% of Democrats).  

Source:  FORTUNE/Survey Monkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 4,717 adults in the U.S. between April 25-28.  The model error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points.  Findings weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography. 


© Bredholt & Co.

01 April 2020

Managing the COVID-19 Transitions

"It's not the change that gets you, it's the transition."

--Dr. William Bridges

At the beginning of recent video and conference calls those in positions of corporate leadership or direct supervision are asking their colleagues a very important question--"How are you doing?"

It's a personal inquiry indicating a level of human concern that underlies the health and strength of our relationships in spite of social distancing.   

Images posted online or in print publications are a reminder of how a younger generation is now in positions of top management or owners of companies.  They feel responsible for the health and safety of their employees during this global crisis, dealing with a threat to millions of livelihoods that is not of their own making.

Dealing with sudden adversity

Professor Marvin Minsky from MIT used to say, "We don't know how to do something unless we know how to do it more than way." 

One example of Dr. Minsky's idea is Ventec Life Systems teaming with General Motors to produce up to 10,000 critical care ventilators per month beginning in May of this year.  That's when manufacturing will be ramped up at a currently closed GM plant in Kokomo, Indiana.  This is a partnership between Ventec's technology and GM's assembly experience. 

While the medical and scientific professions seek to slow the spread and overtake the deadly virus known as COVID-19, we must concern ourselves with how to go about our life and business in new ways under safety guidelines from local, state and federal officials.  (Centers for Disease Control Guidelines)  

For now, business strategy (e.g., Ventec/GM), and public health policy are inextricably linked.

A disappearance of the known

The headlines are about infectious disease and its economic impact.  However, the underlying story is about the serious loss of what four weeks ago was taken for granted--our health; a job in a robust economy; the ability to travel at will for business or leisure; or attend a worship service.  

How about watching March Madness or the Masters Tournament on television?  Not this spring.

Most of what I learned about change--and the transitions that follow--come from the late Dr. William Bridges. The teaching was theoretical in the beginning but soon turned practical shedding light on personal experiences.  

Change, Dr. Bridges said, was external and transition internal.  He used the terms "endings" and "beginnings" not stop and start.  A "neutral zone" was inserted for processing and renewal.  And his writings remind us that everyone goes through a transition at their own speed.

Bridges Transition Model | William Bridges Associates

If the external change is losing loved ones, access to freedoms, or work itself, then the internal transitions to be addressed are the emotional and psychological responses to those extremely difficult, sometimes heartbreaking developments, that follow.  

All this in the context of a global shock to economic, social and health care systems that arrived in days, not months or years.  Who had a global pandemic in their contingency plans?  

One way to gain insight into what people are going through, especially small business owners and their workers, is to understand transition or what's going on inside in response to transformative change.  How does someone who was cutting hair days just a few days ago, but can no longer do so, pay their bills?  How does an enterprise make payroll without an income?

How fast will appropriated government funds get to the neediest persons and businesses?  

Finding ways to deal with those realities is necessary in order for individuals and families to recover and move ahead with their lives.  There's nothing easy about succeeding at that task but the right actions speak louder than words.  

Crossing a great divide

In the coming weeks and months, living under varying public policy guidelines, consider the following for personal or corporate discussions--

-What's our assessment of the current crisis, and what does it mean for our business or nonprofit? And keep asking that question. Know as much as is possible what's happening on the ground.

-What are we losing?  

-What's not over?  What should we think about holding onto?  

-How much of "normal" is likely to return and when can we know?

-In the midst of a crisis, how does one think with a clear mind?

-What are the more reliable sources of information for our business and employees?  

-How do we communicate with clarity and consistency and how frequently?  

A crisis requires moral leadership

During a period of reordering, it's our responsibility to identify and keep alive those things of greatest value such as one's faith; commitment to family; good character; a strong work ethic; and service to others.  These values are irreplaceable.   

As in all catastrophes, including outbreaks and wars, we'll get through this by showing courage and a selfless spirit, both of which are inspiringly on display in doctors, nurses, first responders, and others who serve at great risk for the benefit of all.    

Stay well.


© Bredholt & Co.