“If you want to become a great strategic explorer and anticipate changes to thrive while everyone else is reacting, you have to start thinking about the future differently.” — Jay Jackson
Jay Jackson is a United States Air Force Veteran, Investor, Philanthropist, and Global Business Man. He’s on a mission to transform 5 million lives & businesses by 2023. His focus is to help business owners better serve their clients and team, make a greater impact, and live a more prosperous life.
As the oldest of 4, and the second oldest of 20 grandkids, accountability and leadership started at a young age for him well before his military career.
In the second interview in this series, we are exploring the subject of dealing with crisis and how to adapt and overcome. The context of this series is the physical and financial fallout that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Crisis management is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases, it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
Can you tell us a bit about your military background?
I spent my entire military career in Command, Communications & Control positions. From monitoring & securing multi-billion dollar resources to managing emergency situations. For example, Emergency Management during 9–11 to leading operations during mortar attacks in Baghdad, Iraq.
Can you share the most interesting story that you experienced during your military career? What “take away” did you learn from that story?
Most interesting? Hmm. There are so many. The first or best one that comes to mind is the one I mentioned above. We were attacked by insurgents in Baghdad. The insurgents would use blocks of ice as their timer. Once the ice melted, the mortar would release/fire. They’d set up 8–10 simultaneously and drive away. This gave them time to escape before the Army could arrive to take them down. The runway was full of helicopters and aircraft ready for takeoff and landing. Our operations were shut down for almost an hour. However, we were able to avoid the loss of any lives and resources.
Do you think your experience in the military helped prepare you for business or leadership? Can you explain?
ABSOLUTELY! From day one of Basic Military Training, we’re immersed in stressful situations that require creative thinking and leadership skills. The mandatory requirement of attention to detail, teamwork, and strategy are exactly the skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur/business owner.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There are tons of people who have helped me get to where I am. However, if I have to choose one, I choose a mentor turned friend, Shon Barnwell. She called me “Rockstar” while in uniform. Then she started calling me “Fortune 500” once we became fulltime entrepreneurs. She clearly saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. Without her, I honestly can’t say I would’ve kept moving forward with owning my business and brand.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out how to survive and thrive in a crisis. How would you define a crisis?
A crisis is a time when unexpected events occur that alter our normal way of life or business. It requires you to think of new ways of doing things. It requires us to think about what we’re going to do in the future to avoid being in a similar scenario, again.
Before a crisis strikes, what should business owners and leaders think about and how should they plan?
As an entrepreneur or business owner, you must try to anticipate the future. Anticipation will help you understand the potential long-term implications of change. The implications include both positive and negative outcomes before they happen. Future studies or futurism began during World War II in the military. The study of the future is a part of our landscape because, as a global society, we value the skills of anticipation.
We live in turbulent times that create dramatic changes and generates discomfort. From politics, global pandemics, to recessions, the world as we know it is rapidly changing. So, I have to ask you, “What if you had been able to anticipate some of those changes? What if you had known, for sure about just one of those significant changes? What would you have been able to do with that information?” No matter who you are or what you do, it would have made a big difference. At the very least, you wouldn’t be surprised when world-changing events happen. At the very most, you could have made millions of dollars, perhaps even billions — if you had had this knowledge.
The events I mentioned created whole new industries.
By knowing the nature of change and how to anticipate it, you’ll be able to leverage it in shaping your future.
The times we are living in are much like the turbulent river.
And in times of turbulence, your ability to anticipate improves your chances of success.
And good anticipation is the result of good strategic exploration.
With strategic exploration, you can discover the possible futures.
And once you find out what is possible, you’ you’ll be positioned to anticipate.
Now, there are five components to strategic exploration.
- Influence Understanding — Your ability to understand what influences your perceptions
- Divergent Thinking — The thinking skills you need to discover more than one right answer.
- Convergent Thinking — The skills you need to integrate data and prioritize your options
- Mapping — Your capacity to draw pathways to show you how to get from the present to the future.
- Imaging — Your ability to picture in words or drawings what you found during your explorations
A great strategic explorer can do all of these things. Your ability to anticipate comes from good strategic exploration. Some anticipation is Scientific, but the most critical aspect of anticipation is artistic, and just like an artist, practice and persistence will dramatically improve your results. Your confidence to deal with the changes we’re dealing with today will increase.
If you want to become a great strategic explorer and anticipate changes to thrive while everyone else is reacting, you have to start thinking about the future differently.
There are opportunities to make the best of every situation and it’s usually based on how you frame it. In your opinion or experience, what’s the first thing people should do when they first realize they are in a crisis situation? What should they do next?
- Seek help from people with experience dealing with crises.
- Remain calm and search for the good/positive in the scenario
What do you believe are the characteristics or traits needed to survive a crisis?
Stay calm. Accept and embrace the challenge. Stay disciplined. Remain positive. Focus on helping others. Be resilient
When you think of those traits, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Myself. Because I’ve dealt with multiple crises and I trust my training and experience.
Based on your military experience, what are 5 steps that someone can take to survive and thrive in these situations? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Remain Calm
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Educate yourself
- Do what’s in the best interest of yourself and those you love
- Maintain a peaceful environment
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Educating people on how great they are, helping them develop a life and business transformation strategy, and inspiring them to take massive action.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Because they are all geniuses and hardcore MF’s!
How can our readers follow you online?
LinkedIn: Jay Jackson
FB: Serve, Impact & Prosper w/ Jay Jackson
Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was truly uplifting.