EVERYONE NEEDS A JOB IN A CRISIS

Genelle King Heim
2 min readJan 21, 2024

During WWII, the British government distributed a pamphlet with clear directives to its citizens.

If church bells rang it meant the enemy had parachuted in, and citizens were to debilitate and hide their bicycles and destroy their maps.

They were to disable their cars, remove street signs, and leave old farm equipment in fields to prevent planes from landing.

They were instructed to follow strict blackout rules, carry gas masks with them and pay attention to the color of mailboxes in London, which had a special paint that changed color if poison gas was in the air. In short, everyone could take some sort of action to help defend the country.

Drawing a parallel, my friend James Tanton, a world-renowned mathematician, taught high school math before founding the Global Math Institute.

His directive to students who find themselves paralyzed in front of a math problem is to do something. Anything.

He literally means anything — stand up and turn around, write a poem, get a drink of water.

Doing something changes your perspective, fires different neurons, and most importantly gives you momentum.

If you are stuck, the first step to getting unstuck is to do something.

A lot of employees are finding themselves in an environment of uncertainty right now.

If you are in an uncertain environment or want to change your circumstances, find problems, create solutions, and get them in front of the right people.

My friend Brian Piccionii realized he had a potential solution to a problem that someone had shared with him at a party.

He wrote an entire business plan that solved the problem — and he didn’t even work for the company!

They were so impressed, they offered him a job a few months later.

If you are in a position of leadership, be directive.

Let your staff know where to prioritize, be as transparent as you can, and instill a sense of empowerment.

If you can and they have the capacity, give employees an “add-on” project so they are making an additional contribution as well as building skills.

When faced with uncertain circumstances, no one wants to feel like they have nothing to contribute. People want to know they have a role to play.

Taking action not only contributes to the outcome you hope to achieve, but keeps your mind focused on what is in your control.

--

--

Genelle King Heim

Strategy and Storytelling, Human Nature and Communications. Playing the long game. https://www.graysonhayden.com/newsletter