These last few weeks have looked so different than the norm for all of us. As we navigate this new territory, there are 5 things that have come to mind around surviving where we are and planning for our emergence out of this season.
1. Over Communicate: Over communicating with your team right now can ease fears, jumpstart productivity where it's needed, and set expectations about working virtually.
Blank spaces or holes in connection with our team can leave room for people to make assumptions that can sometimes be detrimental. It can impact motivation level and can allow for questions to enter into their minds about the safety of their position in this climate. Even if their position is at risk, they'd rather know the situation. Transparency protects the safety of people right now, and the more leaders practice this, even when it's hard, the more people have the opportunity to adapt.
Working from home is something many are not used to doing. In the work setting, communicating more frequently helps teams stay on target in a critical time. Intentional communication might look like taking 5 or 10 minutes before a call to reflect on what that person might need to hear from you - step into their world for a few minutes, and think about how you might connect with them on that level first.
Write out the things that you need from them, walk them through what that might look like, and how you might work together on this. It allows those who are capable to rise to the challenge, and those that aren't to be revealed. Convey their value, convey their strengths, encourage them and be clear on when you’ll look to see whatever it is that they’re working on completed.
2. Re-Evaluate: This is an ideal time to reevaluate the systems, processes, offerings and people in your business. Using the pause here might look like conducting a gap analysis on your business - what’s missing? Where are things falling through the cracks and why?
List out all of the current systems and processes that you have and identify what needs to be put in place by category. This will allow you to begin developing a plan to tighten your business model up - this is preparation to return stronger when this passes. Take a look at your team right now, it’s a hard thing to do, but sometimes those cuts or even shifts of position allow for greater agility in the future. If you have to make cuts, be gracious. How can you continue to support this person throughout these next few months?
3. Set Survival vs. Strategic Planning Time: Set aside survival vs. strategic planning time. Right now, you might be constantly operating in survival mode, which is necessary and understandable. Survival mode requires all hands on deck, constant communication, and consistent timely updates on the landscape. It requires adaptability and focus on how you can serve your customers right now in order to meet them where they are.
It may be hard to switch gears and enter into planning, dreaming and creating mode, but it’s important to keep that part of the vision alive, even in this season.
Monitoring inputs can help - allow time away from messages, news feeds, and phone calls. Define a time with yourself and/or your team where you transition into a future planning mode - step outside, change your environment and put on the do not disturb mode. Zoom out and remember why you started, what your vision is for this year, and how it might change in light of this. How can you meet people where they’re going to be when they emerge from this?
4. Sharpen Your Skills: This is a time, once the survival plan is in place, to sharpen your skills. You probably have a list in the back of your mind of the masterclass’s you’ve been wanting to complete, masterminds you’ve wanted to check out, writing you’ve been wanting to do, or other outlets that contribute to your growth.
Use the pause to do these things! This can be an amazing opportunity to add tools to your toolbox, training for the season of growth that follows on the heels of a drought. The season of growth is much more fruitful when we have prepared, reflected, and done the work that matters most.
5. Prepare and Plan to Rise: Continue to brainstorm on your future track. What does this look like post-crisis? What vision is being revealed to you? At least once a week, having these conversations with trusted mentors, accountability partners, and team members keeps the dream alive.
Preparing and planning looks like using those newly honed skills to create your 'next level' strategic plan to scale the business. Keep cultivating it, capturing any 'snippets' that are revealed to you throughout your days. This is a time of preparing, shifting and growing in order to get ready for the season that follows it.
We have the opportunity to emerge more adaptable, strengthened, and more on mission than ever before, should we choose to accept the challenge.