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  • Eric J. Meth

Effective Leadership & Adaptation in a Time of Crisis



TL/DR Summary

  • In under 6 months: the cannabis bear market trickle became an all-out slide (well before the global pandemic), Good Harvest Co. completed a tie-up with Surfside to strengthen both of our well-aligned approaches to the market and now we have a global pandemic war being waged. Unforeseen change and devastation is currently impacting everyone, with more unpredictable damage on the horizon, but I truly believe we will persist in the end.

  • Strong Leadership Owns EVERYTHING - Churchill once said, “Meet success like a gentleman, disaster like a man”, but unfortunately, we’ve seen neither from top leadership for a very long time, particularly now when we need it most. The greatest concern from the very start of the current administration, is the utter lack of confident, consistent and credible leadership being displayed by those at the very top who are charged with effectively guiding the people of this nation through a crisis like the one at hand.

  • Thanos Has Arrived - We’re witnessing the underlying theme of Avengers: End Game playing out in real time with Trump playing the role of Thanos. The key difference is Thanos actually has real superpowers and utilizes them with real (albeit horrible and evil) purpose where a simple snap of his fingers wipes out half of a population. Our leader on the other hand blindly meanders his way into terrible outcomes without applying any superpowers which are critically needed for the dire situations we’re facing.

  • Situational Change Forces Adaptation - I’m curious to see on the other end of this situation how people’s habits will change as a result of all of us discovering: new ways to work, consume products we never paid attention to before, alternative ways to exercise (or how many individuals will start exercising), ways to purchase & regulate cannabis, more free time to spend with friends/family and generally rethinking priorities on what is really important in life. Humans hate change, but typically figure out pretty quickly how to adapt when they need to be resourceful.

Read on for the full article. What the hell else are you doing now? (JK)


It’s been a bit since my last post which seems like a lifetime ago given our current times.

In under 6 months: the cannabis bear market trickle became an all-out slide (well before the pandemic), Good Harvest Co. completed a tie-up with Surfside to strengthen both of our well-aligned approaches to the market and now we have a global pandemic war being waged. Unforeseen change and devastation is currently impacting everyone, with more unpredictable damage on the horizon, but I truly believe we will persist in the end.


I’m not nearing retirement yet, but I am watching my son’s 529 savings precipitously decline to what likely will be half of a year’s tuition vanish in the span of a few short weeks. This is occurring just as we’re looking to utilize those carefully and dutifully saved dollars for a soon-to-be declared university tuition check. But that is secondary, as I’m more concerned for the well-being of family members and friends, the financial stability of those immediately and longer-term impacted by the economic shutdown and the medical professionals on the front lines all navigating this swift moving battle as containment efforts, a search for a cure and effective treatments are simultaneously researched.


Thanos Has Arrived



While I’m not a Trump supporter, I do believe in some of the policies the administration has implemented. And this post is not meant to be a political statement of any kind as there are bigger items to focus on now. But what has deeply concerned me from the very start of the administration, and only grown over time, is the utter lack of confident, consistent and credible leadership being displayed by those at the very top who are charged with effectively guiding the people of this nation through a crisis like the one at hand. While the tone at the top is improving (and at times devolving), it will not recover the valuable lost time that likely would have helped stemmed the initial and longer-term impact we have yet to calculate.


I never thought the underlying theme of Avengers: End Game would actually turn into reality with Trump playing the role of Thanos. The key difference is Thanos actually has real superpowers and utilizes them with real (albeit horrible and evil) purpose where a simple snap of his fingers wipes out half of a population. Our leader on the other hand blindly meanders his way into terrible outcomes without applying any superpowers which are critically needed for the dire situations we’re facing.


Strong Leadership Owns EVERYTHING


Churchill once said, “Meet success like a gentleman, disaster like a man”, but unfortunately, we’ve seen neither from top leadership for a very long time, particularly now when we need it most.

Thankfully, we have several governors in the most currently impacted areas of the country filling that void and rising to the occasion to help mitigate this disaster. And many other state leaders are no doubt taking playbook notes from Inslee, Cuomo, Newsom, Murphy, Pritzker, LaMonte and Wolf with more to follow as the inevitable wave of more cases and deaths occur in their respective states as we approach a peak. It all starts with taking full ownership of the situation, and all of those state leaders have outright claimed they take personal responsibility for the health and safety of their residents. The key issue that remains at present is not having a unified set of directions from top federal leadership to ensure the best coordination to maximize relief efforts.


This is trending towards an imminent Lord of the Flies situation if effective top leadership is not implemented now, with governors competing with each other to secure critically needed medical and other related relief supplies.


I recently digested a new podcast from Professor Scott Galloway that debuted just this past week which focuses on that very point. I had the opportunity to briefly interact from time to time with Scott many years ago while our offices shared the same work-space. I’m fortunate for those limited exchanges as he is one individual I’ve encountered across my career arc that provided valuable nuggets on effective leadership skills. In combination with many other colleagues and mentors I’ve been privileged to learn from over the years, the key attribute leaders demonstrate is their effectiveness during a crisis.


The inaugural episode of the Prof G podcast, and his weekly blog/newsletter No Mercy/No Malice deftly covers the following during crisis leadership (and for the TL/DR’s):



While it may be challenging to adapt to this new normal, where sideways is currently the new upright, I have been inspired by the initial interactions I’ve had with others this past week. Despite the rapid change in our collective lifestyles, mostly everyone is working to help others both personally and professionally. People are getting creative on how to work, interact with their families & friends, school their kids and embody leadership in their own ways.


Additionally, I’ve been encouraged by the leadership displayed by Surfside’s co-founders Jon Lowen and Michael Blanche as we’re quickly pivoting to support the essential businesses of our partners to help them maintain sales. This will help to ensure customers utilizing cannabis in markets under stay-at-home orders continue to access their needed medicinal and therapeutic products. While larger companies typically have deeper resources to weather storms like the ones we’re facing, sometimes it’s better to be a Cyclone-Class navy vessel vs a Nimitz -Class Aircraft Carrier to more swiftly navigate the rough waters.


Situational Change Forces Adaptation


I’m curious to see on the other end of this situation how people’s habits will change as a result of all of us discovering: new ways to work, consume products we never paid attention to before, alternative ways to exercise (or how many individuals will start exercising), ways to purchase & regulate cannabis, more free time to spend with friends/family and generally rethinking priorities on what is really important in life. Humans hate change, but typically figure out pretty quickly how to adapt when they need to be resourceful.


Personally, as someone in sales and business development, I’ve been a telecommuting creature for most of my career with most days spent out of the office and on the road in meetings or working from hotels as well as my home office. While the change is not as abrupt as it may be for most others, it still has forced accommodations as there are 4 more humans in my house on a regular basis now. Applying schedules for my kids as they are adjusting to distance learning, creating work- vs personal-time boundaries and other useful habits are being implemented by all of us. But with literally everyone working remotely, it has helped to stay connected and understand how others in different regions are coping personally and professionally and how we can still stay focused on getting work done but adjusting our approaches as we navigate the times.


Face-to-face meetings are still the ideal in normal situations, but I’ve also been a long-time proponent of using web-cams for remote meetings, as the level of engagement is astronomically increased particularly for internal team conference calls. I’ve noticed more people are peeling off the electrical tape, or sliding open the branded cam-shields they received as SWAG at some random trade show (remember trade shows?) to stay as physically connected as possible while maintaining social distancing.


I’ve also discovered new products as “panic shopping” has led to shortages of everyday items. With regular pasta disappearing from the shelves, how about chick pea linguine? As traditional meats and produce are out-of-stock, we’ve gravitated to meat alternatives. And yes, the obvious one – toilet paper. Perhaps this can be filed under TMI, but I pulled the trigger and purchased a TUSHY. In fairness, it’s been on the consideration list for a while, but come end of April (back-ordered – thanks to hoarders) I’ll let you know the verdict. Maybe that will be the inspiration of the next post? OK moving on….


This change is also impacting people’s cannabis consumption, particularly in adult-use markets where products tend to be generally more available. However, the coronavirus has led to similar stock-ups with sales last week jumping 28% according to BDS Analytics, namely seeing increased flower sales over other product categories. However, I believe as more consumers expand their use for either medical or adult-use to cope with increased anxiety, depression or simple escapism they’ll be more apt to expand their consumption methods.


There was also a recent post by Max Simon of Green Flower showcasing his rationale for this particular situation being an ideal time for consumers to introduce or reacquaint themselves to cannabis. This will likely lead to lesser-volume categories seeing upticks and represents an ideal opportunity for brands in these categories to educate and reach consumers through targeted marketing as cannabis retailers remain open as essential businesses in impacted markets. And in the most unlikely of ways, state and federal regulators just may realize things like curb-side/drive-thru pickup and delivery of legal cannabis for medical patients and adult-use consumers is just as normal as alcohol, food, groceries and any other…consumer product? Mind. Blown.


While we may be separated longer than expected, in an unexpected way I hope we can all be closer, have more appreciation and generally relate better to one another when we reach the other side.


Please be safe as we navigate the challenges ahead. Check on close ones most at risk, stay virtually connected to those you know, be responsible citizens and if you’re not an essential employee or medical pro on the front lines, then #StayTheFuckHome. And thank those important folks on the front lines and the officials showing true leadership, as they’re the ones that will save us.

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