Vanessa Perumal is the founder of JT Communication Solutions, and a leading South African communications specialist and social entrepreneur. Recently, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, the treatment of which necessitated the total removal of her larynx. (You can read more about her story here.)

While recovering in hospital, Perumal took stock of her situation and the COVID-19 pandemic, and penned the following lessons that we can all benefit from during this challenging period in our lives:

  1. Building resilience into your business model is essential.
  2. Tomorrow has arrived. Agility with a quick response time is essential. Make sure you communicate throughout your value chain what your position is and where you are at.
  3. You have to be present along the way. I find myself in an ICU unit with strangers all bonded together in common purpose. #SocialDistancing means we all have no visitors. How we react to each other inside will make or break our recovery; be kind even when you don’t know what to do.
  4. Never let an unprecedented crisis count for nothing. Take action now to build capacity for tomorrow; businesses need to embrace change and adapt their business models. Own your mistakes and be open to new learnings.
  5. Your brand is your trademark, and how you respond to the pandemic when humans needs a humane response is how you will be judged – and how you manage the blows.
  6. #MyCovid19CancerDiaries has, at times, shown me cruelty inside a medical sanctuary that I did not believe could happen. It did. The important thing is to decide what you will not be able to tolerate to survive.
  7. Building systems even in chaos is critical. Your business value chain can ONLY offer the intelligence and support you enable. Make sure your weakest links are covered with the most precious education and knowledge you can empower your human resources with.
  8. Take back your power. When you feel you’re failing, get back to basics and work from your highest position of strength. To win the battle know how to fight the war.
  9. Build empathy in your brands. Authentic honest leadership is more crucial in uncertain times and how you show up matters to your workforce.

These thoughts are an extract from Perumal’s #MyCOVID19CancerDiaries on LinkedIn. You can read the full post HERE.