The current protests and riots that are happening in the US have captured headlines around the world. Although I have lived in Australia for 25 years, growing up in America provided me with first hand insight to observe the good and the bad.
The tragic death of George Floyd whilst being arrested by police and captured on video has created an outpouring of anger, grief and frustration. This event has opened up the fractures that have been lingering in the background across society and created a moment in history that could have been used as a catalyst to change and start moving forward in a united way.
Unfortunately, when there is a void of leadership, chaos and emotion often create a larger divide, which helps explain what is occurring right now across America.
I also see this too often in business. A crisis occurs that puts all the focus and attention internally and externally onto the business. It creates a moment for the leader to step up and shift the fear and uncertainty to hope and clarity. I also observed this with COVID19. Some leaders will retreat into their office and start slashing budgets, projects and people. Whilst others share the challenge with their staff and ask for their ideas, as well as listen to the fears and uncertainty that they have.
One great example of this is what Hands Across the Water did. Being in the charity space, Hands typically raises over 70% of their money by organising charity bike rides in Thailand by providing experiences for donors to get on the ground and see firsthand the people and projects that they are helping. With COVID19 the charity sector saw donations stop and without international travel this source of funding disappeared. Hands Leadership worked tirelessly to explore the alternatives to see what could be done. Staff were included in discussions and budgets were looked at. As the founder of Hands, Peter Baines also started looking beyond the negative outlook and started looking at how to move forward. Rather than reacting in fear, the plan was to push towards what could be possible.
The Ride to Provide Virtual Challenge was conceived 4 weeks ago and allows people to pledge to raise $500 over the month of June and commit to riding 800km in their lounge room, or walking, running or any other way to help the Thai children and their communities. Although I admit I am biased being involved with Hands, the results have been great. There are over 200 people signed up around the world and they are all working together to do something to help. I would not be surprised if the event raises over $150,000.
This is a great example of what leaders can do in times of chaos and fear. If you would like to find out and experience it firsthand. Please join me on the Virtual Challenge or if you can spare a few bucks click here.
In these days of uncertainty we need leaders that are moving forward and uniting people rather than staying distant and blaming.