PERSONAL LEGAL PREPARATIONS IN A TIME OF CRISIS

By G. A. Finch

Although we all have an expiration date on this earth, most of us do not like to contemplate our deaths.  Consequently, many people do not have their personal affairs in order at the time of either their disability or death.  This neglect of one’s medical, legal and financial affairs can wreak havoc on one’s own care as well as on family and business colleagues.  We all should act responsibly.

This inattention to one’s affairs is not defined by any particular class of people or a person’s circumstances. Yes, there are even highly educated or high-net worth individuals who do not have basic estate planning documents such as wills, revocable trusts, and powers of attorney for health care and property.   There are families who have not created special needs trusts for a disabled child or family member.  There are business owners who do not have a succession plan or exit strategy for their closely held businesses.

Hospital

Although ideally, one should prepare all of one’s legal and financial arrangements well before the time one would need them, preparation must occur.  A crisis like the COVID-19 Pandemic should be a sobering jolt to obtain professional advice to put you and your family’s legal and financial affairs in order.  For peace of mind, endeavor now to be able to mark “done” on your TO DO LIST for the items: estate, financial, and business planning.

 

Copyright © 2020 by G. A. Finch.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

LEADERSHIP DURING THE TIME OF DYSTOPIA AND FOREBODING MIASMA

By G. A. Finch

In the month of March, in the year of 2020, in the world, in the United States, the Era of the COVID-19 Virus has unequivocally and rudely arrived.   Many times, as executives or professionals, we have recently heard the exclamations from friends, families, neighbors, colleagues, clients, customers, and patients: “These are weird times!”  “It’s a crazy time!” “It’s scary!” “The worst is yet to come!”

We hear complaints of either too much happy talk and misinformation or too much Chicken-Little-like-“The sky is falling” negativity.

All would agree that the world and United States are laboring under extreme adverse circumstances both medically and economically.

We are experiencing an historical moment, and it seems surreal with all the empty streets, closed schools and businesses, sanitizing of surfaces and objects, and social distancing.

From conversations with my executive and professional clients and colleagues across the country, I have come to believe the following: In these kinds of circumstances, a leader must a) understand context, b) discern a proper perspective, and c) choose the right attitude.

Context

We must understand those facts in which a certain event occurs.

We live in a highly integrated, global world.  We are not insulated and major catalysts can happen instantaneously — in this case, rapid disease contagion and economic dominoes.  What happens in financial or regional food markets abroad can and does have immediate effects on every American.

Human beings on this planet are inextricably connected and interdependent.

As  the 1918-1919 Flu Pandemic ought to have taught us, our living in an impenetrable bubble has always been a figment of our imagination.

Perspective

We must discern all of the relevant information to establish a meaningful view point.

The United States has had epic catastrophic events before and has survived, becoming stronger: Civil War, two World Wars, Great Depression, 9/11, Great Recession and other monumental challenges.

This corona virus calamity, too, shall pass.

Attitude

We must choose the right orientation.  Optimism and positivity are actionable choices that individuals, teams, groups, and nations are free to make.

There are no short- or long-term positive returns on individual or collective pessimism.  Our expecting and working toward an eventual positive outcome has both immediate and deferred benefits.

SunriseLeadership

We are all leaders, whether you lead in a family, an organization, a team or a government.

Effective and memorable leaders, although mindful of being realistic, pragmatic and diligent, choose a vision of prevailing and winning.  Defeatism is not an option for such leaders.  How will you choose to lead?

 

Copyright 2020 by G. A. Finch.  All rights reserved.

 

CBA RECORD REVIEW OF THE SAVVY EXECUTIVE: THE HANDBOOK COVERING EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS, COMPENSATION, EXECUTIVE SKILLS AND MUCH MORE

Gratified to see Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr.’s review of my book, The Savvy Executive, for the Chicago Bar Association’s magazine, CBA Record.

CBA Record Magazine September/October 2019         – Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Editorial Board Member, writes:

“If you represent corporate executives, or professionals, you should read The Savvy Executive by savvy Chicago corporate lawyer and [Chicago Bar Association] member,     G. A. Finch.  … Finch knows of what he writes, and imparts prudent advice. … Finch provides a compelling, interesting, and challenging source of insight and information on the corporate world and its executives. … The Savvy Executive offers solid, accessible, and practical answers to questions that corporate managers and their lawyers need to know.”

  SavageExecutive                             #savvyexecutive

 

 

 

 

 

ELEVATOR SPEECH

BY G. A. FINCH

An executive and fellow author I know had suggested that I write about “elevator pitches” in my book, The Savvy Executive: The Handbook Covering Employment Contracts, Compensation, Executive Skills, and Much More.  It was a practical suggestion but I needed to set limits on the length of my book.   I am making up for this omission by this blog post.shutterstock_734738725

I personally have two elevator speeches that, admittedly, I do not use as often as I should.

For those readers who are not familiar with the concept of an “elevator speech,” it is having a ready-made quick response to someone who asks “What do you do for a living?” or “What business are you in?”  The idea is that on an elevator you may have approximately 30 to 45 seconds to tell what you do before you get to the floor where you, or your interlocutor, or both of you have to get off and go your separate ways.  The point is to inform the person asking about your business or profession in an interesting, memorable way so that a connection might be made.   With an effective elevator speech, ideally, the person listening will feel compelled to either take time to ask you more questions or ask for your business card to follow up, assuming such person has a need for the services or goods that you  have to offer.

The term “elevator speech” is a shorthand way of saying that you need to be able, in any setting, to tell someone what you do for a living in a way that is informative and engaging.  For example if someone were to ask me at a reception “What do you do?,” and I respond “I am an attorney” or “I am an author” or “I am a partner at the Hoogendoorn & Talbot law firm,” then such a response does not tell them much of anything and I may have missed a business development opportunity.

So there is utility in having a succinct, pithy description of what you do for a living.  In most situations, you will have more time than 45 seconds to talk about your work or business.

The elements of an effective elevator speech in my view:

  • Short
  • Illustrative of the kind of work you do
  • Memorable enough to differentiate you

My two different lawyer-oriented elevator speeches depend on the audience and context:

1) “I represent executives and professionals who are being hired or fired, or advise companies or organizations that are hiring or firing executives.”

2) “I am a business attorney who makes it possible for executives and entrepreneurs to sleep well at night.”

My first elevator speech’s punch line is the notion that I represent clients when executives are being hired or fired.  The subject matter itself catches people’s attention.

My second elevator speech’s punch line is the notion that my business counseling will fix problems and ease the legal stressors for my clients.  Relief from stress is always an attractive proposition.

If I am asked for more information, then I will provide a brief description of my law firm (history, size, practice concentrations and location) and maybe an example of a matter that I have handled.

Here are two other elevator speech examples that two intrepid executives have volunteered and subjected to my few tweaks –  I have made these executives and their companies anonymous:

A) “We enhance high performing management teams in middle market companies to create the greatest value for private equity investors. I do this at ‘Acme XYZ Company’ where I am managing partner and can bring a lot of resources to each relationship.”

B) “I am with ‘ACE ABC Partners.’ We do executive search and staffing for the      insurance industry.  We utilize our specialized expertise to find the right talent for our clients so they can remain focused on executing their strategic initiatives.”

You should try out different versions of your elevator speech and ascertain which one seems to elicit the most interest.

What’s your elevator pitch?

 

Copyright © 2019 by G. A. Finch, All rights reserved.

 

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