As any year winds down, the weather turns colder, the days get shorter and the holidays approach, it is often a time of reflection on all that the year has brought, good and bad, and an occasion to be thankful for the opportunities, successes and people that have made a difference over that time. In years of great challenge, adversity and uncertainty, the mantle of leadership calls for business owners to not only be thankful, but also to be resilient and determined as they prepare for the next year.

In any service business, it is all about the people. In the remodeling industry this is no different. While some companies may have a building, a showroom, trucks and tools, the value of each of our organizations is really the people: the employees, the trades, the vendors, the referral sources, the industry associates, and of course the customers. Even in the most challenging times, or maybe especially in the most challenging times, it is important to take the time and not only appreciate these contributors to your success but to communicate that to them.

The picture of every successful remodeling company is really a mosaic. It is lots of little pieces of bright colors and different textures coming together to create a value proposition of the company, great projects, a unique customer experience and the financial rewards that go along with those elements. It is truly something to appreciate.

Business leaders also have the obligation, especially in light of unprecedently difficult times, to demonstrate resilience. Each of those important groups of people (from your team to customers) will look to you for reassurance that the company has what it takes to continue to be successful and grow.

Resilience requires taking an honest look at those things that we find challenging or troubling, then developing the strategies and tactics to make the company even stronger going forward. The business owner must meet changing regulations, new market conditions and the highs and lows of economic turbulence with a clear vision, an executable plan, up-to-date performance measures and a leadership team to stand strong. The ability to get knocked off balance and then get back on track is an ability that every company needs to be able to master, and that starts with the business owner.

Finally, while being thankful and resilient are critical for leading during challenging times, there is one more key ingredient, determination. It is not enough to appreciate what we have and to bounce back when knocked off track. Business owners need to be determined to lead their organization to the future. They must be clear on the goals for the company for the next five years, or ten years, and lead the company to that new picture, that new mosaic. Dreams that become realities are usually the result of a strong, committed leader that will accept nothing less. It is that spirit of determination that will keep your team focused and your customers attracted. Your clear picture of where the company is headed, and your ability to communicate it to others, can be just the certainty needed to navigate the most uncertain times.

In my office, I have a picture of Walt Disney. From one angle you see him standing on acres of vacant swamp land in Florida. From a slightly different angle, you see the image of Cinderella’s castle behind him on the same property. Walt Disney did not live long enough to see the opening of Walt Disney World. And yet, he saw it very clearly, well before any of us saw it or enjoyed being there. What would the picture of your vision look like? Can you see it? Have you helped others see it? Most importantly, are you determined to make it a reality?

There will be good years and bad. Great triumphs and tragedy. Grand successes sprinkled with moments of failure and doubt. Business owners will serve themselves, their people, their companies and their customers by leadership that is thankful, resilient and determined.