Jacob Riis said, "When nothing seems to help, I go and watch a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it – it was the hundred that had gone before."
With the economic situation being what it is right now, it seems like any effort to improve our organizations (that required a decent amount of resources) is going to be put on hold for a while. This, however, is the moment when you need to be resolute, put down your head, and weather the storm. In some of the projects I have been working on, some of them for decades, I have found it downright depressing to get so close only to have new setbacks. The key to success, however, is to remain strong, focus on what needs to be done to sustain interest in these projects, and push ahead when the time is right again.
The easy thing to do is to give up. But leadership has never been about what is easy. If it were, everyone would be a leader. Now is the time to have vision and if your vision can carry you, you can go anywhere.
Now is the time to look to people who have mentored you, people who have been through tough times themsleves, and feed off of their successes. Going back and learning from these leaders can help sustain us and may even provide insight you didn't pick up on before.
Your own people will be looking to you right now as well. Be positive, but don't try to snow them. Being honest and forthright with them will help everyone and may encourage them to pitch in together to reinforce the team. After all, if they are good people (and I hope you make the choice to surround yourself with good people), they will see that you have seen fit to trust in them and that they should trust in you.
Now more than ever, "doing the right thing" is important, because not for a long time has doing the right thing meant so much toward keeping everything in balance.