Contributed by Winnie Hart, an EO Houston member who serves on EO’s Board of Directors. Hart is an author, brand strategist and the CEO of TwinEngine and Brand in the Box. In March 2020 as the global pandemic began—long before work-from-home and Zoom fatigue were issues—we asked Hart about her experience leading her business through crisis. The article, which originally appeared on EO’s Inc.com channel in March 2020, has garnered nearly 38,000 page views and is posted here in its entirety:
We are experiencing a global crisis that needs leaders like you to lead. A crisis is defined as a time when difficult or important decisions must be made. We often don’t see a crisis coming and aren’t prepared. The coronavirus crisis is happening now, but it will certainly not be the last challenge we face. We must be ready. We must be prepared. We must lead.
When faced with a crisis, will you rise to the challenge, or will you fall?
At 6:10 a.m. on Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. The levees broke, flooding more than 80 percent of the city with 224 billion gallons of water. In a weekend, I lost 75 percent of my business. Before that day, I thought failure was the worst possible outcome.
Though it sounds cliché, I learned what would become my mantra: From crisis comes opportunity. Through failure, I gained resilience and learned that a strong vision sees no barriers.