II received two wonderfully inspiring leadership notes last week, and I decided I couldn’t wait until Sunday to share them. Thank you, Joan and Ozzie, for reminding us of the responsibilities we have as leaders in difficult times and how hard it is.

From, Joan Davison, a member of my Vistage Peer Advisory Board:

17 Hard Things You Have To Do To Be A Great Leader

  1. You have to make the call you are afraid to make.
  2. You have to get up earlier than you want to.
  3. You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  4. You have to care more for others than they care about you.
  5. You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  6. You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  7. You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  8. You have to grind out the details when it is easier to shrug them off.
  9. You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.
  10. You have to search for your own explanations even when you are told to accept the “facts”.
  11. You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.
  12. You have to try and fail and try again.
  13. You have to run faster even though you are out of breath.
  14. You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.
  15. You have to meet deliveries that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.
  16. You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.
  17. You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what is in front of you.

Source: Unknown

From Ozzie Gontang, a fellow Vistage Chair.

  • Business models are material, and material things die. 
  • Business propositions are ideas, and ideas are eternal.
  • How a company does what it does will and should continually change. 
  • What the company represents to its customers, properly understood, can be relevant for ages.
  • As our lives shift, it is important that our mindset shifts along with it. 
  • As leaders, our responsibility is to provide hope, support, and clarity. 


  1. What am I grateful for today?
  2. What are my three areas of focus that are in my control?
  3. How am I communicating with my Employees, Customers, and Vendors?
  4. What expectations of “Normal” am I letting go of today? How will I conduct our business in a different environment?
  5. How am I practicing self -care to keep my cup full so I can support my family, organization, and community?
  6. How can I give back to help support others this time? How can I help those who cannot go out?
  7. How will I conduct our business in a different environment (shelter in place)? Office supplies? Banking? 
  8. How do we go about preparing for the eventual “ramp up?”
  9. What will we want this company to look like when we are back up and humming? 

Question 8 carves out a portion of the leader’s attention and focuses it on establishing a process early-on to start thinking about the future (vs. just wallowing in the current mess); and, 

Question 9 accepts that we will not likely, nor should we, look and act and be exactly what we were before the storm. We must turn our attention to (at least) these two future challenges and find a way for our firm(s) to learn from and take advantage of having our noses shoved into this unexpected learning process. If we don’t, no one in the enterprise will, and that will be the real long-term cost of coronavirus. 

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