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Leadership Insights - June 2020

"When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world."

Author Unknown

A Restructuring Primer (HBR)

When War World II finally began to tilt in favor of the Allies with victory in North Africa, Winston Churchill celebrated the victory but with a cautionary tone in a speech in which he warned "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

The same might be said for the Corona pandemic. The country may be re-opening but we're far from 'business as usual" and more than a few businesses have absorbed body blows that will soon begin to manifest themselves especially if there is another lockdown. There have been multiple high level Chapter 11 Reorganization filings (especially in retail). There will undoubtedly be more.

Many of these will euphemistically be called "restructurings." Even if your company is weathering the storm well, you may be impacted by customers or suppliers who are not. Their restructuring activities may affect their ability to buy from you, keep their accounts current or secure critical goods and services from struggling vendors.

This short HBR posting, "Primer on Restructuring Your Company's Finances," will test your knowledge of key aspects of restructuring. Take time for it, you may become part of someone's restructuring, whether you choose to or not.

Funding Hardship

Before Corona hit, the Federal Reserve estimated that 40% of American families could not cover a $400 emergency expense. The pandemic has probably added to that percentage. The US government has provided a remarkable level of resources to help employers maintain payrolls and to those who've lost their jobs. These resources, however, may not be enough for the rest of the pandemic, and perhaps even when Corona is a memory.

That's where an Employee Hardship Fund (EHF) may be appropriate. Also known as employee benevolent funds, these are funds earmarked to help individual employees and their families get through emergencies. You may not be able to establish an EFH now but this short posting from HBR offers an overview of EFHs and how to set one up, as well as a link to Levi Strauss & Company' EFH Playbook.

For Your Graduate: Five things to Unlearn after Graduation

Suzy Welch, former editor of the Harvard Business Review, has some cogent advice for recent graduates; not everything learned in the warm cocoon of the academy is helpful, and can often backfire in the real world. In this two minute video, Ms. Welch identifies five lessons graduating seniors have to UNLEARN immediately after college to be successful. Helpful advice before the first day on the job!

Econ Recon

Recovering but not recovered: "The recession that started in March is the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression. As it turns out, it was also the shortest." So begins Dr. Brian Wesbury's June 8 blog post which offers a look at recent data and an opinion regarding how long it will take to get back to the way we were. The recovery will take time but Wesbury says "The Recession is Over."


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