Adam Vasquez

The Confidence Market

Thanks to COVID-19, we’re all relearning how to do the things we were once experts at. We’re relearning our relationships and how we interact. We’re relearning how to be a customer, teacher, CEO, marketer, sales executive, investor, ect. And with everything happening so fast, the relearning curve is extra steep. 

Fast learners know that confidence makes all the difference. Confidence in ourselves. Confidence in the instruction. The confidence to make mistakes—and to try again and again. 

Confidence is key to succeeding in this global relearning process. Confidence that our favorite restaurant takes sanitation seriously. Confidence in a building’s air quality. Confidence in safe food delivery. Confidence in personal and business relationships. Confidence that a brand can deliver what it’s promising. 

Confidence comes from experience. And any business that delivers a focused “confidence experience” during such uncertain times has a sustainable advantage. However, confidence isn’t for everyone and answering these core questions helps to choose whether or not to enter the confidence market. 

  • What encourages confidence for our customers and employees?
  • How are we communicating confidence?
  • Are we delivering confidence?
  • Do we hold ourselves accountable for delivering confidence?
  • How might we improve on delivering confidence?
  • Are we willing to change?

Delivering confidence is a choice. Reinforcing our appreciation with a handwritten note is a choice. Educating customers about a new delivery process is a choice. Making it easy to interact with us is a choice. For every business, it comes down to understanding where there are opportunities to inspire confidence—and delivering like the future of the business depends on it. Because it does.

Confidence is the emotional fuel we need as we relearn how to eat, drink, heal, travel, entertain and buy. We’re relearning the fundamentals of living in a rapidly evolving environment. And while confidence has always been an integral part of good business, it’s more important than ever in a post-COVID-19 landscape. It takes crises and challenges to really see who has the confidence to push through the relearning process. Now is the time to choose confidence or be left behind in a pre COVID-19 world.


Denise Kohnke

COVID-19 CEO Survey

Back when COVID-19 was in its diabolical toddlerhood, circa May 2020, Merit asked CEOs from a diverse pool of sectors about their perceptions of COVID-19, and how they were tangibly handling its impact. These were not P&G, Google, General Motors CEOs, but CEOs of arguably the most important strata in the U.S. economy: small to medium-sized.

Denise Kohnke
CEO Influenza?

If our CEO survey is any indication, the “can-do” spirit is still alive and well. As cultural Venn diagrams representing now and the near future collide – COVID, FLU, ELECTION, BLM – resiliency seems to be many CEO’s medicine du jour.

Denise Kohnke


What might be the hardest part of being a leader? The expectation of fearlessness, as in the whole “fearless leader” facade. Crushing, isn’t it?

Denise Kohnke

Everyone defaults to denial at some point. It’s the brain’s way of lining up all of our implicit biases and testing them against harsh realities. Ironically, it’s because we’re trying to make sense of things with mental shortcuts. Now, in the time of COVID-19, as we all feel the need to move fast, CEOs might want to be especially mindful of biases, especially the biases that support denial and impede invention during crisis.

Denise Kohnke

COGNITIVELY COVID: The CEO Guide to Acting Fast

You’ve likely heard the term “first movers” in the context of new sector growth. Moving first to take advantage of opportunistic pathways thanks to COVID-19 is almost a new sector unto itself. One website we love,, is a global gathering of hundreds of new products, new apps, new wrinkles to existing services all in the name of the new world.

Adam Vasquez

The 10 Truths of the COVID-19 CEO

In the midst of loosening lockdowns and tightening restrictions, dropping infection rates and second waves, CEOs must adjust to new truths in changed industries. During many conversations with my peers, a few of those truths have surfaced time and again.

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