Story of the week.

This year, I had to layoff the spouse of a cancer patient. It felt as awful as it sounds.

Early last summer, Covid had turned a record growth year into massive decline in sales.

I had laid people off before as a leader in a larger organization. But this felt different. In an company our size (60 people at the time), it's almost impossible to divorce what you know about people's work from what you know about their lives.

Its a complicated balance when you are simultaneously responsible for the spreadsheets and the layoff scripts.

It's possible and even likely that you'll face this as the CEO of the business you acquire. Be prepared. Here are A few thoughts.

1. Offer Context. But be careful. Saying the wrong thing can lead to legal trouble. Leverage your HR resources, outsourced or in-house for this.

2. Show empathy: Now isn't the time to get cold. Part of what makes many small businesses succeed is the emotional ties and extra motivation that comes from proximity and familiarity. The way to handle this will reverberate throughout the organization. What message do you want to send?

3. Offer support: Point the person to the resources and benefits that are available within your company. But also outside of it.

Subscribe to get these stories in your inbox