Surrey Business News

Be­ing a Hall­mark of Lead­er­ship Dur­ing the Pan­demic

- Leadership Skills · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Surrey · John Horgan · British Columbia · Erin Brockovich

I have long known that cri­sis re­veals char­ac­ter, and the COVID-19 pan­demic has reaf­firmed this belief. While the cri­sis has re­in­forced that some of so­ci­ety’s sys­tems need fix­ing, it has also demon­strated that there are or­ga­ni­za­tions and lead­ers who have nim­bly and com­pas­sion­ately ad­justed what they do for the ben­e­fit of their staff mem­bers, their clients, and their com­mu­nity. I’ve wit­nessed this with the lead­er­ship and staff mem­bers of the Sur­rey Board of Trade (SBOT).

I at­tended the last in-per­son event that the SBOT held, a busi­ness lun­cheon fea­tur­ing Premier John Hor­gan. At­ten­dees bumped el­bows some­what self-con­sci­en­tiously but still helped them­selves to the gen­er­ous Northview Golf & Coun­try Club’s buf­fet. The in­come from these well-run busi­ness and net­work­ing events are how the non-profit SBOT is able to sur­vive, and even thrive, as the voice of busi­ness in Sur­rey and BC. Two days later, CEO Anita Hu­ber­man made the de­ci­sion to shut down all in-per­son events in­clud­ing the very pop­u­lar Sur­rey Women in Busi­ness Awards, fea­tur­ing guest speaker Erin Brock­ovich.

This de­ci­sion, with great fi­nan­cial im­pacts for the SBOT, was made early, and was the right one. One of the hall­marks of good lead­er­ship dur­ing a cri­sis is the abil­ity to make quick de­ci­sions based on the in­for­ma­tion that is avail­able. One of the frus­tra­tions I have had with the so­cial ser­vices sec­tor dur­ing this cri­sis is the length of time it has taken to make some sig­nif­i­cant and nec­es­sary de­ci­sions. Dur­ing this cri­sis, de­ci­sions that used to take months need to be made in days; de­ci­sions that used to take weeks need to be made in hours, and de­ci­sions that used to take hours need to be made in sec­onds. Lead­ers won’t al­ways make the right de­ci­sion, but the courage to make swift de­ci­sions is the mark of a good leader dur­ing a cri­sis.

The pre­scient ac­tions of can­celling events and keep­ing peo­ple safe was quickly fol­lowed up with the de­vel­op­ment of a new se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties to sup­port Sur­rey busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity. These in­cluded cri­sis re­sponse plan­ning doc­u­ments that were shared gen­er­ously and widely through­out BC. I know that many of my col­leagues were very grate­ful to use the SBOT doc­u­ments as tem­plates for their own COVID-19 re­sponse plans. The SBOT also quickly planned and ex­e­cuted a se­ries of free Dig­i­tal Town Halls that fea­tured ex­perts and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers (mu­nic­i­pal, provin­cial, and fed­eral) help­ing at­ten­dees make sense of the pan­demic and its im­pact on busi­ness. The SBOT also cre­ated a COVID-19 Pan­demic Busi­ness Cen­tre fea­tur­ing a cu­rated col­lec­tion of doc­u­ments and links to sup­port busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity dur­ing the cri­sis. The SBOT was able to change di­rec­tion nim­bly and lead Sur­rey’s busi­nesses and com­mu­nity at the be­gin­ning and dur­ing this cri­sis.

The job of the Board of the SBOT is to rep­re­sent our own­ers (who we have de­fined as the mem­bers of the SBOT) and to en­sure that our Ends (mis­sion) are be­ing met. Our over­ar­ch­ing Ends are:

The Sur­rey Board of Trade ex­ists so that its mem­bers and

the wider com­mu­nity have a busi­ness cli­mate con­ducive to their suc­cess, in­clud­ing the fol­low­ing:

1) Busi­nesses in and as­so­ci­ated with Sur­rey have op­por­tu­ni­ties and sup­ports to suc­ceed; 2) Gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion-mak­ers have in­for­ma­tion on cur­rent and emerg­ing is­sues and how their de­ci­sions im­pact busi­ness; and 3) Sur­rey is at­trac­tive to busi­ness.

While the COVID-19 cri­sis has deeply im­pacted busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity of Sur­rey, Anita and the SBOT staff team have con­tin­ued to work dili­gently and cre­atively to en­sure that the Ends of the SBOT are be­ing met. We are likely still just at the be­gin­ning of this cri­sis, but I am proud to be as­so­ci­ated with an or­ga­ni­za­tion that will con­tinue to lead and sup­port busi­nesses that are im­pacted by the COVID-19 pan­demic.

Doug Tennant is the Board Chair of the Sur­rey Board of Trade.

 ??  ?? Doug Tennant
Doug Tennant

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada