It was late in January – four years ago – when my adopted hometown got news that was about as bad as people could imagine. It was a real gut punch to hear the railroad – Norfolk Southern – was leaving Roanoke and in its wake an empty ten-story building in the heart of our blossoming downtown. After all, the railroad had built the economy of our hip, small city.
People were obviously scared. It was devastating news and the local reporters beat on about all the people who would be leaving, the lost jobs for our area, and how bad things were going to be for our city when all of this happened.
The way things had always been was clearly not going to continue. The time had come to adapt.
A group of local business leaders decided to band together to rebound from the bad news. They bought the building and retrofit it so a handful of companies could share the beautiful space and take advantage of a great downtown Roanoke address. Instead of relying on one corporate giant, these ingenious and daring new owners split things up and in a matter of a few short years they’ve continued work to fill the space.
It was the same shell of a building, but inside everything was different.
How many times are we hit with devastating news in business or life only to quickly figure out it’s actually a new opportunity for us? Now, we’re forced to find a new way to do things. Instead of feeling sorry about a major loss, these investors took a risk, found a new path, and fueled some of the continued growth here in town.
It was impressive work. And is a good reminder for us.
There is a new way to accomplish your mission and it starts with taking a fresh look at the situation. Maybe you can try that the next time seemingly bad news crosses your desk.