It felt like we were finally coming out of a fog. With stay at home orders lifting, social distance restrictions easing up, and the market continuing to rebound, a few weeks ago it seemed as if we were on a path to a new normal. Till we weren’t.

On May 25th, four Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46 year old black man. He was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. 17 minutes later he was unconscious. Shortly thereafter he was declared dead. The videos began to circulate and the protests started. The protests turned into riots and overnight our country was on fire. The pain of the unheard crying out for justice.

We have not made an official statement and I’m not sure that we will. For now, here are five questions pointed towards our beliefs, not our opinions, that I can answer with confidence on behalf of our organization: Do we believe that institutional racism is alive and rampant and needs to be taken apart piece by piece? Yes, we do. Do we believe that violence and racism are tragically woven into the fabric of our country? Yes, we do. Do we believe that the perpetrators of this injustice, and many others, should be held accountable for their actions to fullest extent the law allows? Yes, we do. Do we grieve alongside our brothers and sisters whose pain we cannot fully comprehend? Yes, we do. Do we believe things can and will get better? Yes, we do. These are things we believe, not things we think. I believe that distinction is important.

Early in my career I absolutely loved sending fiery emails. I am not just comfortable in conflict, at my worst some part of me enjoys it. After a particularly reactive response to an angry email from a vendor my manager pulled me aside and suggested I make a habit of taking 24 hours before replying to any email that ruffled my feathers. I had a ton of respect for this individual so I took his advice to heart, deciding then and there that I would implement his counsel as a discipline in my personal and professional life. I hold to it, as best I can, to this day. 

I’m sure it comes as no surprise but neuroscience tells us that we make our best decisions with a level head. Emotion triggers the fight or flight response in our brains, and unless we have time to settle down we are going to react from a hyper-aggressive or fear-motivated posture. Believe me, I’ve been the initiator of the former more times than I care to remember. 

In my lifetime, outside of 9/11, I can’t think of another time where it was more critical for leaders to keep a level head.