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When Curiosity Leads to Clarity: How to Support Your Leader and Grow Your Business During a Recession

When Curiosity Leads to Clarity: How to Support Your Leader and Grow Your Business During a Recession

Until recently, the United States was in its longest economic expansion. The GDP had consistent growth, ending 2019 at 2.3%. The unemployment rate was at an all-time low in January 2020 at 3.6% and the DOW reached record highs along with steady growth in the stock market. (BBC NEWS, 2020)

A positive economic progress report, while always welcome, usually comes with a pendulum swing in the opposite direction. According to Nancy Mann Jackson, contributor at, “we’ve averaged a recession about every four years since 1900” (Jackson, 2020). Fortunately, the United States has been able to avoid this cyclical pattern and experienced its longest bull market in history, spanning from 2009 to 2020.

Since the COVID-19 virus entered the collective lexicon of the population, the global economy has certainly taken a hit. Not only are economies having to adapt in live time, businesses are trying to pivot, and entrepreneurs are tapping into their creative reserves. In times with such uncertainty, we look to the leaders in our lives for guidance and clarity. Over the past few weeks, there has been a surge of webinars, articles, podcasts, and videos that illuminate our current situation and challenge us to lead with fortitude and resilience. My colleague, Kate Fosson recently wrote an in-depth article that examines How to Lead Through the Chaos and looks to the past for guidance in the future.

Many of the aforementioned resources are being leveraged by leaders all over the world but despite your professional or societal position, we can all use this opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

In the startup ecosphere, companies are less like companies and more like agile business units collectively channeling their efforts in the same direction. In times of chaos, these business units are looking to their founders for leadership and their founders are looking to their teams for support.

Let’s explore some of the ways in which you can support your founder, grow your business, and your career during a recession:

Learn the blueprint of the business

Today, every industry is being affected differently by the COVID-19 virus. Some industries are facing a surge of sales and others a slowdown. If you are experiencing the later, take this opportunity to learn the blueprint of the business. This is more easily done in startups due to the barriers to knowledge and systems being lower and the fact that employees typically have a direct line to the founder or CEO.

A business blueprint should physically exist, but this is not always the case. Reach out to your Founder or CEO and explain that you’d like to take advantage of the extra time and fully understand the inner workings of the business. This shows your innate curiosity and commitment to the company. Ask the right questions about the company’s operations, sales, and marketing. Let’s call these explorative interviews, and they shouldn’t just stop with the leader. Approach your colleagues and business partners with this curiosity and you’ll likely be met with appreciation.

Chart your professional development

Learning the business blueprint will allow you to draw connections and identify opportunities for inter-department collaboration. Additionally, you’ll be able to identify needs within the company and possibly take on more responsibility. Making yourself indispensable at the top of a market turn, will yield more stability during the difficult times.  

Opportunities will be unique to each company. Look at the trends in the economy, consume a variety of content, take your knowledge from the explorative interviews, and identify the opportunities within your company and chart your personal path for development.

Leverage digital education

With a renewed clarity within your business and your future, leverage digital education now more than ever. Layer your morning dog walks and household chores with informational or inspirational podcasts. Stay connected to your professional community and listen to the conversations being had. Industries have mobilized to take canceled seminars and conferences into the digital realm, making most of them free.

As we watch the world make seismic shifts in live time, we’re simultaneously watching the education industry become more democratic and accessible to all. Dive in, absorb as much information as you can, and use it to propel you forward in every aspect of your life.

Strengthen company processes

As we’ve explored, taking an inquisitive look at the inner workings of your company to innovate and iterate will yield positive results. And with company processes at the heart of any business, we’d be amiss to not discuss ways in which you can take a more in-depth look and identify ways to strengthen them.

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the majority of Americans are currently working remotely and in turn quickly discovering some ineffective company processes along the way. Everyone is trying to navigate the new normal that this pandemic has triggered and we’ve all certainly encountered challenges. We have a new lens to look through which we can use to strengthen our processes and systems, leading to improved communication among our teams and a more fortified company.

Now, is a good time to take inventory of your company’s procedures and identify ways to refine and improve. Conversely, you may find that your company already does some things incredibly well and should be recognized and celebrated. Here’s a list of relevant resources and articles that expand on company culture and processes of remote workforces, whether temporarily or perpetually.

5 Team Communication Tools That Will Skyrocket your Productivity

27 Tool Every New Remote Worker Needs

Build A Great Company Culture with Help from Technology

Can Corporate Culture be Built with Digital Tools?

There is no doubt that we’re in the midst of challenging, unprecedented times. It’s easy to vacillate day to day between anxiety and clarity. The entire world is experiencing this together, causing a global unity that I’ve yet to experience before. We know that we will endure this and ultimately come out on the other side with more strength, clarity, and creativity. Take this time to focus on things that will illuminate these qualities. Support the leaders within your business and your life by showing a curiosity that leads to clarity.