Why owning the issue will likely result in a better outcome.
A colleague shared the latest podcast from a16z with ideas of how government funds could be distributed to small businesses with the help of accounting software vendors. Sounds like a good idea.
The podcast ended with a discussion about stock buybacks vs dividends that didn’t address any of the related issues with declining levels of R+D, capital investments or the spread in SW+B. Touchy issue and probably one that’s not fair to discuss with such a narrow lens.
However, it got me thinking about the importance of owing the issue.
There are valid reasons for stock buybacks. For some companies, debt has been a cheaper way for management to fund the company given that interest rates have been artificially low since the great recession. Returning capital via stock buybacks may also be more tax efficient but the end result for investors is also different.
Stock buybacks may be a problem for some companies trying to qualify for Covid19 relief funding. Given the amount of distrust around stock buybacks, any action other than owning a questionable management decision will likely make matters worse.
We see the consequences of downplaying issues and denying statements play out every day in the current political landscape.
During the 2008 financial crisis, I laid off staff and closed my office. It was all done so quickly that I didn’t even have time to think about the fallout.
The timing unfortunately coincided with my E2 renewal. E2 visa holders have to present detailed business plans, tax returns and other business records to substantiate their [re]application.
I was informed that other E2 holders were being deported and that the odds of a successful petition were low given the state of my company.
Against legal advice, I wrote the INS. In short, I admitted to be out-of-compliance with the requirements and explained what I was doing about it. It took the INS almost a full year to review my case, but they eventually granted me an extension. Talk about a stressful year.
My attorney chalked up the outcome to the “Immigration Gods” being on my side. For me, it made the “own it” lesson really clear.
Even if the personal consequences at stake are high, own the issue. If you do, the outcome will probably be better than you expect.
Finding some comfort is important.
Lance Armstrong’s books gave me and many others some comfort during the Great Recession. I love the story of him falling down on the 5th tour and how he kept telling himself to get up. He got up and won. His legacy has been tarnished but his words still resonate with me.
If wrapping your brain around the concept of vulnerability is not a high priority, just remember to lean into the tough conversations and know that you’re not alone. Everyone is going to be touched by Covid19 one way or another.
Community Mat update
I have been teaching Pilates Mat to a small group of health tech executives and was supposed to start teaching at the General Hospital this week.
With live classes on a Covid19 hold, I’ll be offering on demand sessions soon. If you’ve never done Pilates, now is your time to try it out. A few Pilates sessions/week will make you feel better.
You can sign up now to get early access. Classes are free.