“A leader must face reality and deal in hope” Napoleon

We hope this finds you, your family and your people safe and well – and we hope it stays that way!

As the UK’s leading business improvement specialists, we’ve been inundated from clients (and prospective clients) for some priceless and pragmatic insights that will help you get you through this crisis and come out of it stronger.  This is the first of many help sheets (this is help sheet number 1).

Firstly, we won’t be covering topics such as: –

  1. how to improve hygiene to protect employees and customers
  2. how to set people up to work from home

The main reason for this is because, by now, most organisations are dealing effectively with this.

Secondly, what we will be covering, are topics such as: –

  1. what brilliant business leaders should be doing right now
  2. what terrific Senior Leadership Teams are doing to get their organisations through this, etc …

So, let’s face the reality:-

  • The economic impact of this crisis will be HUGE on most businesses and will last much longer than we think (a minimum of 3 to 6 months with revenues significantly reduced or in some cases, obliterated)
  • The financial support offered by the UK government, which is more than ever offered before, will, in reality, only ease the situation slightly for most businesses
  • This too shall pass, and the economy will eventually recover (probably more slowly than we think (or want)
  • The priority for every business leader is to ensure that their business will still exist after it’s over and be in the best shape possible for when the recovery begins

Clarity of thinking and acting – aligned behind an aspirational vision, brilliant communication, problem solving, and effective decision making will prepare the team to execute the futureproofed business model for long term success

Let’s “deal in hope” (in a way that turns it into optimism and positivity)

You and your team must prepare for the worst and expect the best.

The first two steps: –

1. You may well have started/completed this already. Cash really is King. Most businesses have experienced a massive drop in cashflow. The P&L needs to be scrutinised in minute detail. Eliminate all non-essential expenditure, then scrutinise some more and eliminate more non-essential expenditure. Liquidate assets to create/protect cash.  Negotiate every possible benefit: mortgage/rent holidays, government support, bank loans, etc… Project as accurately as possible how many weeks this will give you to continue to operate.

2. Communicate with your team and your customers like you’ve never done before. Great leaders are open, honest, trustworthy and credible. Painting pictures of the worst case and the best case – and exploring the tough and difficult decisions that you have had to make/or that still need to be made, gives your team and customers the context they need.

Explaining the “why” first, is more important than simply the “what” for everyone involved … the market, employees, customers, bank, suppliers, etc…

Communicate ten to a hundred times more than you normally would – conference calls, daily briefings, WhatsApp group updates, focus groups. Be transparent (and it’s OK to tell people you don’t know – but you’ll find out or wait until the situation is clearer).

Remember, “The vacuum created by the failure to communicate effectively will be quickly filled by rumour, misrepresentation, doubt, lies and poison”

Sewells have been providing positive help and support for over 56 years, so our experience of previous crisis will help us to help you.

Come on, don’t be shy! Please let us know what we can practically do to help you get through this and come out stronger.



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