At this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I wanted to reach out and wish you a meaningful holiday and a hopeful outlook for this upcoming year. It would be easy to make a little quip about ’21 being better, yet my own spirit isn’t there to make light of where we are today. For weeks, I’ve known it’s time to get our end-of-year musings out, but somehow I couldn’t pull together cogent thought.
We are vividly aware that this is a hard time for many of our friends and loved ones across the country and around the world. We know of those who, between health/economics/unsettled country, are experiencing one of the most challenging seasons in recent memory. Many others have lost their jobs or substantial portions of their savings. We join with you in prayer for all those who need comfort in these trying times.
I am still concerned about these next few months. I do believe we, as a community, can rebound, especially where we are intentional in deepening relationships and serving. Through OneAccord, I see business owners approaching the challenges differently. Some of our conversations are with owners who are buckling down to pivot their businesses and explore new markets, sales approaches, strategies and personnel. We recently served a client in opening up two new industries for their services, because their primary market nearly evaporated during COVID. At the same time, we have several engagements with those accelerating their plans for an exit. The funds currently present in private equity suggest those opportunities still exist.
To summarize, we see:
- Business pivots
- Business exits
- No status quo
On my end, those areas of life that matter most seem to have come more into focus: faith, knowing God’s goodness, family. So far, we’re all getting along while in much closer proximity and for a longer duration than expected. These past months, I have seen clearly the importance of having a group of values-aligned leaders around me, to the right and to the left, to learn from and, at times, lean on. If you don’t have this, perhaps through OneAccord we can be of help in providing counsel or perspective. Or maybe you'll find it through a community group, church, or even new friends at the dog park.
We all have an opinion about COVID and its personal and professional impacts, and I endeavor not to share mine where I don’t have data. It can be hard to discern how to plan for schools, travel, business forecasts — even where to eat. This business environment has been a flurry of navigating historic ups and downs, but there’s also thankfulness for the time to slow down, reconnect and examine our values.
I’m thankful for a good God. There is a privilege in partnering with him, in processing challenges and collaborating. I’ve never read promises saying there wouldn’t be problems, just that we don’t need to go through them alone. From one perspective, perhaps I should be asking, What do I value most deeply? How can I invest more in those things? And what do I need to let go?
In the midst of the travails, if we can be of service, we’d be honored to do so.
Now, for that peace — that passes all understanding,
About the Author
Originally from Edmonds, WA, Jeff graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in finance. He is chairman for OneAccord, which he founded after 20 years with The Southwestern Company.
Jeff’s work history with The Southwestern Company included the strategic selection, development and training of a sales team that began as 56 people and grew to 340 with a 36 percent annual growth rate across all of Canada, the western U.S. and Mexico. Within the organization, sales rose at an 88 percent average annual growth rate. Competing with approximately 3,400 sales people, Jeff’s team achieved the highest worldwide per-person sales, including the all-time company sales record holder. Jeff received the Excellence Award for overall management performance – and was the only back-to-back winner in the 145-year corporate history.
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