The Black Swan

Larry Janesky: Think Daily

The economy was the best I had seen it in my 55 years.  Everyone had a job, interest rates were low, confidence way up and nothing seemed to phase us for long.  What could go wrong?

The Black Swan.

It has been hard to lead during this crisis.  The reason is that leaders do not have much control over it, and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow relative to the virus or any announcements that come out from the government.  The media has fed the hysteria and scared people.

I had 670 employees at the start of the crisis.  Here is what I know.

I am responsible to see that this business comes out the other side intact.  We need to preserve our ability to operate.  I must NOT run out of cash.  If I cannot pay my employees, we are done.  Finished.

I am monitoring leads coming in and sales very closely.  I am monitoring my Spread every seven days (Cash + Receivables – Payables = “Spread”).  I am calculating my breakeven (Fixed costs / Gross Profit Margin = Breakeven) each time we make a change to our fixed costs. 

To set things right, you have to see things right.

If my sales are less than my Breakeven and my Spread is shrinking, I must take action to make my company smaller and reduce fixed costs.  Obviously I prioritize keep the best people so we may fight again tomorrow.

I could ask for volunteers to be laid off (there are some).  I could lay people off.  I could reduce their working hours to four days a week or even three.  I could even cut pay and bonuses.  I could do combinations of all of these.

I have been financially conservative all these years.  We have no debt of any kind.  I have positioned my company to weather this crisis.  We have a great reputation and great employees with a caring culture and environment of high trust.

At the same time I am playing this strong and firm defense, I am working to play a strong offense.  This can be a bit unpredictable.  Consumers are not acting the way they usually do.  Some are using fear, and not their usual criteria. But some are home and taking advantage of the time off to call us to get things done around the house. We work closely with our salespeople each day and focus on each sale.

I keep the spirits of my people up.  (Many are working from home).  I do not get hysterical myself.  If people freak out, I go calm and think.  I do my best.  I eat right and get enough sleep, and still work out every other day.

I have a job to do and I will not mess this up.  We will survive and thrive.

The Black Swan will disappear, and we will still be here.

I am the leader.

Heather Solomon

Thank You for this, Larry! I related to every word and, on a much smaller scale than you, I’m doing this too. You confirmed that I’m on track…at least for the moment 😉 You got this!

John LeVan


Nicole Russo

Let’s go team USA!! We got this. Great blog Larry. We are here with You supporting the businesses in Silvermine Industrial Park!


Well said. This too shall pass.

Donna Palomba

Great advice. You are a leader and an inspiration. Stay safe and productive.

Michael Carrafa III

I’m with you Larry, glad to be here!

Jeff Thompson

Well said Larry!!


This thought is why I believe and trust in You, your thinking and your leadership.
What you say and teach, I know, hear and believe at my deepest core.
Thank you for taking these feelings and truths and attitudes and beliefs and putting it all into words that I can believe and live by.

Timothy Ferraro

Thank you for the reminder.

Harry Burlakoff

Thanks for the inspiration Larry

Bob Ligmanowski

“Stretch just 1 more inch !” I’m in !

Jodi Fogarty

Love this, I’m in it for the long haul while praying for those suffering!!
This too shall pass, I truly believe in this phrase!!

Kim Nguyen

Thanks for sharing! and good luck to everyone!

Nancie Gray

Thank you Larry! Always a leader, always inspiring others to do more. #thistooshallpass #weareinthistogether #supporteachother


Dead on. My business partner has followed your pieces for years. Please add me to your daily emails.

Tobias Sommer

Thanks for all the inspiring leadership quotes, I love reading these everyday. I think we do need to reflect in times like this, what could have went better. I agree that the Black Swan will leave, I however think that the hysteria was a lack of leadership and message. I think Americans have lost trust in the government, political parties and news. I don’t believe that we can give a pass to the leaders in power and blame media for this situation. If we had a clear mission and message that we could say is my North star, I think we would not be in the situation we are in now. With no clear message and distrust of any news outlet or politician, I am afraid we turn to the real virus – Social Media. We have been hijacked but misinformation and funny memes for our knowledge. Garbage in and garbage out. I am afraid that we have a chance to unite the United States but we are being divided more and more. Great leaders rise to the occasion and take on the crisis head on. The message so far has been this is a hoax to just the flu, then we are a nation at war with the bad virus. Now I heard that things will be back to normal by Easter. I for one am confused and look to facts to steer me. All other nations are battling this and are closed for the most part. Even if we get back to normal in the USA we will wait for Europe, India, China and other major countries and trading partners to be truly back to normal. This is a global issue so I dont believe that the news created the hysteria, it definitely didn’t help when they had no clear message to report. We need to do better and work together to solve the issues not blame and point. Leaders get to lead by surrounding themselves with smart people and listening to them, then making informed decisions. I hope that the smart people prevail and the emotions dont overwhelm the crisis with knee jerk reactions. Everyone stay healthy and calm and we will turn the page on this soon. We cant go backwards anymore so lets all push ahead!

Gray Wilson

That is why we all get up in the morning and enjoy working at the Network Larry built. We will keep all the balls in the air and weather this storm together. Here at Systemes Soussol Quebec we are closed by Government order right now but we are following up with our clients and prospects and staying sharp so when we can re open we will hit the ground running and catch up to our goals. Training and Webinars will keep us ahead of the other contractors.

Dan Kennedy

Well done Larry. Your daily words are inspiring. Good luck. Keep leading. Get through this!

Jeff C Russell

I love it- Confidence………

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