I catch myself thinking again about movies I saw as a kid and about Westerns that were on tv. Those pioneers in their covered wagons, I remember, were an assortment of city folks, farmers, ex-military, a mix of hopeful but non-skilled tag-a-longs, and always one really bad guy. I’m thinking those brave travelers’ involvement with any violence themselves was rare, although they were certainly warned about the dangers of trudging across the country so they could settle new land in the West. I wonder if what they learned from their ordeals going West is a part of how we know what we have to do now?
One day, as the wagons roll slowly, someone looks up to see hundreds of Native American Indians, mounted and armed, in silhouette across the ridge ahead. Oh no! Now what?! It’s probably safe to say that the impending experience would be a first for everyone in the wagon train except for the Wagon Master (picture a very young Robert Horton or Ward Bond), and their crew of riflemen (including Frank McGrath as Charlie Wooster). Picture a very young Clint Eastwood, because often on Rawhide that crew would have to stop their cattle drive to rescue an endangered wagon train.
When You Have To Do Something
It’s a dire predicament, just like today. What do you do when you have to do something? Step 1 in an Indian attack on a wagon train: circle the wagons. Get all the women and children inside, put horses and livestock inside the circle. In other words, get ready to hunker down. Next step: find out who has guns and who can shoot. Place those defenders strategically so they can be protected as they shoot to kill. Next step: wait until something starts and hope for your desired outcome of continued Wagons Ho!
Every person on that wagon train had a reason to want to stay alive, and once the shooting started, I’ll bet every man, woman, and child formed a plan to make it through. Hide the kids under the blankets. Shooters—crawl under the wagon and shoot from between the wheel spokes. Women, keep something heavy in your hands, in case an Indian jumps from his horse and crashes into your wagon with a knife.
Yep. Here we are. Dangerous warriors lining the ridge and wanting to wipe us out. The more people who can think strategically, the better our chances of continuing this journey to our better lives. What do you see now that you have to do to keep your business intact until this battle is over?
When The Battle Is Over
In the Westerns on tv, when the battle was over, they took a day to bury their dead and to discuss what happened and what was learned. The survivors counted their blessings, then the wagon train slowly unwound and restarted the slow trek West. The analogy is obvious. Right now it appears we have at least two months to strategize how to stay viable and to be ready when commerce resumes. What is your plan?
I have a 90-day plan for this crisis. If you’d like to hear it, give me a call. It will work for you, too.
Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium-sized businesses for 19 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.