Leading Your Business Through a Crisis
Written by Jim Hartlieb, President
Last year, one of my clients, Paradigm, LLC, faced a horrific event — a workplace shooting. As soon as I heard the news, I texted CEO Nate Herbst to see what I could do to help.
Of course, their top concern was the recovery — emotional and physical — of their traumatized employees. Four were physically injured – thankfully none critically. The day after the incident, Joel Fields, CFO of Paradigm, called me and said, “I have no idea what I need, but I don’t want any checks to bounce, and I don’t want to have to worry about that for the next month.” He went on to say he wasn’t sure if customers would pay them while they were recovering from this tragedy, but he needed our help so he could focus on caring for his employees while they were healing.
Thankfully, I felt confident we could help and that other businesses in the area would, as well. I believe strongly in the power of our local business community, not only as an economic engine, but also as a strong support system for each other. Besides this event, we saw this firsthand when our area experienced record, catastrophic flooding in August. Displaced nonprofits and businesses were able to rebuild through support of our local business community and dedicated individuals.
I told Joel we would do everything we could do support them through this crisis. We extended a line of credit within the week, and he expressed relief. “Banks aren’t stereotypically that flexible, so it was comforting. It suddenly became very clear which business partners were the most proactive and dedicated to our relationship,” Joel said. “The team at First Business Bank had our back, and we’re very grateful.”
Joel also told me that “no one can tell you what to do in a situation like this.” He said the next day, he sat with their human resources manager and CEO in a conference room trying to figure out what to do. After many sleepless nights, staff meetings, and strategic thinking, they devised a plan and have been executing and learning ever since.
In the aftermath of this situation, Paradigm officials are now in the unique position of knowing how other business leaders can prepare for a workplace shooting. Though it might be difficult and uncomfortable, they, along with Captain Steve Britt of the Middleton Police Department, are unselfishly sharing their lessons learned so you can take what applies to your company and be better prepared if this happens at your business.
I’m grateful for generous business leaders in our network who want to strengthen our community’s businesses so they can potentially prevent an attack, protect their employees, and recover more quickly. You won’t want to miss our upcoming seminar on this topic. Make sure to register today.
Date/Time: February 20, 2019 from 7:30am – 9:30am
Location: Monona Terrace, Madison, Wis.