LEADERSHIP IN CRISIS CALLS FOR AN ADROIT MIX OF REALISM AND PRINCIPLED BEHAVIOR: A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
By Nathan Hamood, President and Director of Coffee
Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters
At the start of the pandemic, it became apparent to me that this was going to be do or die. After more than 10 years of blood, sweat and tears we’d put into building this business, a precipice was looming, regardless if it was not of our own making.
That weighed on me. However, it was expected that I would have the needed vision of how we were going to get through this and what it would look like, without much time for reflection. Events were happening so quickly. I did allow myself a day or two to let the severity of the situation sink in before shifting to a more positive and optimistic mindset. I needed to move from dread to deeds.
Giving wing to “principled reality.”
My first impulse, an important one, was to be transparent with our key team members about the difficulties and possibilities that lay ahead. This was truly a survival situation that would take strong portions of wits, creativity and elbow grease to get through. Being solely optimistic could have been an unproductive, potentially disastrous delusion.
When in doubt, let realism be the root of optimism. Accept the gravity of the situation and from there develop the confidence in one’s ability to weather the storm. I think it’s important for leaders to acknowledge the reality they face, even if it’s not the brightest, before rallying with optimism, at the risk of sounding tone-deaf and lacking in understanding the depth of the situation at hand. Moreover, we can’t expect teams to come together if we’re keeping things from them.
Next come the practical steps, founded on believing in our team members and the survivability of our business if we act wisely. For us, this means keeping on staff all of our team members that were ready to weather this storm with us. We would not lay off a single employee, that was a promise we intended to keep and did keep. A few months into our pandemic response, we went a step further by starting a program of employer-contributed health care. From a financial standpoint, it was the worst time to execute a massive rollout like this, as it made our short-term resources even more precarious. But the timing felt right in every other way.
So far, these decisions have served us well, as our business continues to grow and build stronger even during the pandemic. We are actually introducing new products, including new lines of prepared and packaged drinks, and finding new ways to connect with customers, including through our website and online ordering portals.
We are a stronger organization, better prepared to take on whatever comes next.
About Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters
Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters has one location in Rochester, one in Detroit, and one in Royal Oak. The company roasts coffee in-house daily as well as bakes its own desserts every day. Dessert Oasis strives to deliver an unrivaled coffee, dessert, and entertainment experience through close attention to detail, an unbelievable knack for quality, and intense love for our communities. Crain’s Detroit Business recently recognized President and Director of Coffee Nathan Hamood for his passion for coffee, business acumen and commitment to the community by being included in Crain’s 20 in their 20s Class of 2021.