Leaders who spot opportunities and move forward quickly in a disaster share these traits:

  • Good decision making
  • Agility to respond quickly
  • Understand the advantage of planning.

One forward-thinking leader who has built his business on such attributes is Kyle Lissack, President of Pinemar Inc.

A few days ago, we had a long conversation about spotting opportunity as we return to work.

Kyle believes the elements of good decisions made by him and his team include:

  • Hiring outstanding people who contribute their time and talent but also their ability to be continually thinking of continuous improvement.
  • Having a solid emergency reserve
  • Budget planned revenues
  • Care for the team and their customers


Kyle believes that “Active planning anticipates challenges.” He believes that businesses that do not consider planning important for future success are always in the reactive mode, which often leads to poor decision making.

Kyle has trained himself and his entire team to be engaged in consistent planning, bringing new ideas and methodologies to the table for the team to discuss regularly. He hires people skilled in their area of expertise, who are also creative problem-solvers.

“Of course, no one expected this pandemic.  Over the last six weeks, when we could not work, we have been talking to clients, architects, trade partners, design partners, and other builders around the country on how best to respond and move forward. We have been sharing ideas, observations, and insights.”

We have been training ourselves for a long time to be able to expand our ability to respond rather than react.”

Kyle maintains a strong balance sheet. He believes that a healthy cash position allows them to make strategic instead of reactive decisions. It’s an important factor that  helps hold the team together.”

Staying calm in crisis demands attention to oneself. To that end, he walks 60-90 minutes per day, meditates, reads books by outstanding leaders who have had many experiences of facing a crisis, and uses that time to think.

Anticipating challenges demands asking different questions. Questions like:

  • How will our use of common space change?
  • What will make people feel safe?
  • What will they demand?
  • How can we brilliantly redefine getting back to work?
  • What extra measures can we institute to give our customers confidence in us?

Additional questions for clients can be simple and caring:

  • Are you ok?
  • Is there anything we can do to make you more comfortable?
  • What are you missing the most?
  • What do you think your greatest challenge will be when you return?

We are in a time of reinvention. Instead of allowing discouragement to prevail, it’s important to remember that the Dark Ages were followed by the Renaissance.

Now is the time to observe, dissect, and create opportunities.

It helps to have an internal structure like Pinemar’s to ignite the process.