Avoid being accusing alligator
I loved to read bed time stories to my kids. It was our one on one time after a busy day. My daughter, Dannielle loved her Sweet Pickles books. These books are about 26 animals (using the alphabet) with human character faults. Dannielle’s favorite was Goof Off Goose who always said, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Accusing Alligator blamed everyone except himself for his problems. “It’s all your fault” was what he always said. The lesson for children was don’t blame others for your problems, take responsibility.
That is still good advice for adults. We all know people who are like Accusing Alligator blaming everyone and everything for their problems but themselves. When a child blames the dog, a sibling or parent for their problems it is a teachable moment. When people are in a leadership position this is troublesome whether they are a parent, corporate leader or elected official. When a leader takes responsibility, they take control. Accusing Alligator never solved his problems because it was always another animal’s fault. He was powerless because he was waiting for another animal to do something. Alligator never took responsibility for anything. We have a lot of Accusing Alligators in Washington blaming others. Leaders take action.
As parents, business leaders or elected leaders this is a time for positive action. Blaming China, Washington or someone else for our problems won’t move us forward or solve our problems. I watched the evening network news last night and it was disgusting. They gave us plenty of things to be afraid of. We heard COVID-19 cases are spiking. They did not mention West Virginia where they are declining. They mentioned Florida and Georgia were opening up. They failed to mention those two states did not have spiking COVID-19 cases. The evening network news presented problems but no hope of solutions. I wasted 30 minutes of my life and hurt my attitude.
Following the evening news was a local program on opening up West Virginia. We heard from Senator Manchin, Governor Justice, other elected leaders, community, business and educational leaders. I didn’t hear any blame. I heard a lot about action, belief and hope for the future. President Gee of WVU even offered to tape his ankles and suit up for football this fall if necessary. That was exactly what I needed after the evening news. They acknowledged the problems regarding opening up and staying safe but believed they were solvable. It was refreshing.
A representative from Proctor and Gamble in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia was on the program last night. When asked why P&G came to West Virginia he said, “We are within a 24-hour drive of 80 percent of our customers.” They are also located in the center of the largest economy in the world. P&G is making products here and selling them here. Manufacturers of other products have the same opportunity. P&G will likely be using advanced manufacturing methods in their new plant making their labor cost competitive with the rest of the world.
Countries like China no longer have a labor cost advantage over the U.S. because of our advanced manufacturing and automation. This is apparently a difficult concept for many to grasp because it is so new. I was on a webinar recently that broadcast throughout North America. I had three questions that told me they didn’t get it. After the third question I finally said, “If you only take one point away from this webinar it is that U.S. labor cost is competitive with the world because of advanced manufacturing. The second point is because of the Marcellus and Utica shale production the Shale Crescent USA has an energy cost advantage over anyplace in the world. It is the most profitable place to manufacture especially for products sold in the U.S.A.” What other products are we importing that could be made here taking advantage of our location and dependable economical energy costs?
As states open back up for business we will need to grow the economy and get people back to work. This is a time for creativity. Some companies in the Region have already begun to adapt and have discovered opportunities. We have companies who are now making hand sanitizer, masks, face shields, ventilators, ventilator parts and even drums to dispose of hazardous waste. Solvay has made an Intubation Shield to protect doctors and nurses from the coughs that happen when a patient is intubated for a ventilator. WTAP in Parkersburg did a story on it this week.
We have heard many small businesses may not be able reopen. That is unfortunate. Our small businesses are a major economic engine. As President of National Speakers Association’s Ohio Chapter our members are all small business owners. Everyone was impacted. Meetings cancelled because of the virus. Some of our members saw six months of bookings disappear overnight and the next six months are uncertain. We do a weekly Town Hall call with our members. We are not wasting time on the calls being Accusing Alligators blaming the virus, China or Washington for our problems. The focus is on what we can do. Our members are finding opportunities even in the middle of the challenge. The advantage of being a small business is the ability to adapt to change quickly. None of this is easy. We can’t allow the negative of others to destroy us and our business.
The late speaker and radio personality, Earle Nightingale said, “Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity and opportunity is there all the time.” We need to look for the opportunity. We can to use this time to prepare for the future. Anything is possible. We can change the future.
Greg Kozera, firstname.lastname@example.org is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.