Storms Always Make You Better

September 15, 2021

If you're laser focused on crisis managment during a storm, you're missing a huge opportunity.

I firmly believe there are two types of people in the world. There are people who stand up and run into the face of adversity and challenge, and there are those who run away. There is no middle.

You can’t always see who’s who when things are stable and smooth. It’s in times of crisis and uncertainty that a person’s true character is revealed.

The pandemic, and all the uncertainty it’s brought, has revealed many challenges and weaknesses in pretty much every industry and every business. And it’s made that polarization very evident.

As a leader, I’ve been able to see those two types of people become very clear over the last 18 months. The people who run head-on into the face of adversity have stepped up in major ways, which stands in stark contrast to those who run away from challenges.

The culture that we’ve curated and the team we’ve built over the last decade is our foundation. We aren’t perfect, but our whole team is hyper focused on making sure that the big decisions we make are aligned with our Core Values and set up for the long game. And I can say, unequivocally, that when we make decisions that way, they always pan out.

As a leader, you have to operate in marathon mode.

If you just operate in sprints for just one quarter or one project, you’re going to burn out or lose your way because you aren’t looking at what’s on the horizon. You have to always be thinking ahead to six, nine, twelve months down the road.

That’s how we operate at Roma and that is why, although we are hardly immune to external factors like COVID or internal conflicts and failings, we’ve been able to rise far above expectations, even over the last 18 months as the world’s turned upside down. It’s because of our strong company culture that we’ve defied expectations and exceeded goals and objectives.

The pandemic has revealed plenty of challenges and weaknesses for us, but what it’s really shown is that we have an incredible group of humans who’ve come together, aligned by common core values and goals, to rise to those challenges and address those weaknesses. We have a team who’s never stopped collaborating to make things better. And that all stems from culture and leadership.

Our leadership has really risen to the occasion because they are ALL people who run towards adversity rather than fleeing or panicking.

The byproduct of great leadership is that great leaders attract other great leaders, who in turn, attract more great people.

The greatness just multiplies exponentially.

That’s been percolating at Roma for years and it’s really paying dividends today. Because the result is that we have a carefully chosen, calculated team that is kicking ass in the face of adversity. That’s why we’re beating objectives and goals in times of global crisis and uncertainty.

The climate at Roma today is one of massive collaboration. Communication has never flowed so well and there’s a sense of calm and stability internally. There’s a real sense of unity, so that when one person is down, everyone bands together to make it work. The ability of this team to come together and offset the missing person has been just remarkable.

Stability, focus, and alignment allow you as a company to focus on what you should be focusing on: customer experience, new products, infrastructure investments, employee happiness and wellbeing. That sense of steadiness and calm gives you the time, space, and energy to focus in on the things that are most important to your business and your people.

A crisis doesn’t define a business or a team, but it does reveal its true colors.

Our team’s ability to step up has really set us apart and, quite frankly, has elevated who we are as a brand.

When everyone else is focused on crisis management and survival, we’re focused on the opportunities and lessons the crisis reveals. We’re focused on leadership, customer experience, and teamwork. We’re coming together, overcoming challenges, innovating, challenging the status quo, and using unconventional methods to produce unconventional results.

The changes we’ve made over the last 18 months have made us a better company than some of the changes we’ve made in the last five years. Because we had the right people, aligned with the right values, in place to seek out the opportunities in the crisis instead of shying away from the challenges it presented.

How a crisis impacts your business is all in how you view it as a leader.

When faced with a crisis, you can do a lot of the same or you can use it as an opportunity to identify the blind spots, course correct, and innovate accordingly.

Take a hard look at where the last eighteen months has taken your company.

• What holes, gaps, and/or blind spots have been revealed?
• Have you taken the opportunity to identify the above and address them?
• Has your team risen to the challenges in the face of adversity? Or have they fled and cowered?
• What weaknesses have been made evident?
• What strengths has this time reinforced or made stronger?
• Are your company and your team set up to flourish in a time of crisis?

I hope this Blog today has helped jar your preconceived notions of what is and has helped you see a different angle to the opportunities crises reveal.

Remember FedEx was founded just months before the Oil Crisis of 1973! The unprecedented skyrocketing oil costs could have been disastrous for a company that relies on petroleum-fueled transportation, but they stuck it out. FedEx weathered the storm to become the global giant it is today.

So, in the end, storms always make you better.

Tony Gareri

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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