One of F2FEC’s “Three Amigos,” Ben Jones, sent RePlay a “letter for leaders” – that is, for all of us. In it, he muses on the unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19 and includes a list of tips everyone can take to be more effective. Here it is:
Everyone reading this is a leader. Everyone has a leadership role to fulfill at some point. We lead friends, family, co-workers and employees. We lead groups, classrooms, customers and even strangers. Right now, humanity compels us all to lead and to follow. Lead when we can, follow when we should and participate because we must.
The challenges presented by COVID-19 are unprecedented. With stakes higher than any game, no one is placing any bets as long as uncertainty is the only certainty. We are facing a crisis that is forcing us to make difficult, gut wrenching decisions and, sadly for some, this crisis will affect them in profound, perhaps unfair ways. For all of us, there will be some portion of business, family, or life as we live it that is altered, perhaps irreparably. We must lead, follow, and actively participate now.
Crisis management has few game plans to execute. Everyone reading this is in a different situation. That said, I submit that you will do the right thing. And, I ask that you have confidence in the decisions you make, because they will be very best that you can do. Simple, maybe, but also deceptively true. You are not expected to have all of the answers, or to instinctively know what the right thing is to do at all times. This requires a collective, a peer group, people who align with your values and who identify with you, who understand your business. It also requires that you seek assistance and guidance and be a resource for others, by offering the same in mutuality. Those who will emerge on top, the ones who find the right path are usually the people who seek to help others. The way onward and upward is by doing the right thing the best way we can.
Here are some steps that we can all take now and some things we should all be thinking now.
Listen, and expand the sources that you normally subscribe to.
Verify online news before spreading it. Don’t spread mis-or dis-information. Verify first.
Communicate with confidence, consistency and clarity. Over communicate.
Learn fast, as family, workers, those you lead, depend on you to be the chief learner.
Adopt a “new normal” mentality. Seek new ways to engage and support family, friends, employees all of whom have shifted routines and habits.
Role modeling is a great way to influence behavior. Do as I say won’t work, we are in a do-as-I-do time crisis.
Proactiveness is key to emerging on the positive side of bans and quarantines. Stay connected to peer groups and share what you learn. The giving of information doesn’t make you less smart, it simply raises the intelligence level for everyone. We are better together.
Enable Shifts and Change. Business practices and processes will be stressed. Open pathways for change and enable new methods to surface. Plan now, respond now, do not retract – websites, apps, social media may each require new tools, attention and capabilities.
Priorities are priorities. We will emerge on the other side of C-19 crisis mode. It is easy to think about cutting and to revert backwards. Some priorities require reevaluation, but others are just that, priorities, and their action or result will be needed to reopen and sustain business.
Customers matter. It is easy to lose contact with customers. Consumer behavior is changing and will shift radically with factors and forces unknown. Engaging customers now and throughout the crisis will be a competitive advantage when the crisis softens and pent-up demand settles in.
Change or Die. The new normal will not be business as normal. The economic impact of a post C-19 crisis is not clear, far from it. The shift will likely involve portions of everything noted herein. More difficult decisions will need to be made. Start planning now. Run scenarios.
Opportunity. New business practices, new behaviors, new rituals will emerge over time and the most essential of those will become part of a stronger new and re-normalized business.
Lead. Act now. If you are uncertain what to do, then ask: How may I help you?
You now manage a process and “job one” is to mitigate the downside, but lead you must, be persistent, finding ways to be innovative, creative, strong and you will evolve through these times on the upside. Look ahead and keep moving forward.
Thanks for reading.