Leading your business to thrive, not just survive, in the wake of Covid-19

Leadership Blog  |  5 minute read

Daniel Elvery

Written by Daniel Elvery

Leading your business to thrive, not just survive, in the wake of Covid-19

Covid-19 wasn’t in our forecasts for 2020, but for businesses and communities it’s essential that leaders show up quickly with the vision, ambition and preparedness to thrive, not just survive, in its wake.

 

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Stem the virus, not possibility

 Some of the best leaders in history are known as such because of their ability to lead in the face of adversity. Bringing confidence, motivation and vision to otherwise unpredictable and worrying situations. These breakthrough leaders are able to stand for possibility, agility and innovation; being bold in what is possible vs. avoidance of failure. Looking for unconventional solutions by believing in possibility instead of focusing only on damage control.

Covid-19 has certainly given us all something to run away from in the short term and many businesses will be giving lots of their time to damage limitation. But having something to run towards will motivate, inspire and rally your teams to challenge convention and start generating ‘what’s possible’ despite limiting circumstances. Maintaining your longer term 2020 strategies and targets will show steady leadership and give confidence to your teams. Coronavirus is a force to reckon with but for businesses, upholding longer term goals is essential for focus and morale despite the short term disruption we’re all facing. And the more leaders that stay resolute to their 2020 goals, the less speculative impact the virus will have.

 

Tips for leading with high possibility:

  1. Maintain your visions for 2020. Keep speaking your biggest vision and ambition for 2020 grounded in the future, when the Covid-19 disruption is over. We’re certainly going through some turbulence but remaining steady and focused on the bigger picture is essential in order to maintain performance and belief.
  2. Rallying cry. A stirring rallying cry can equip people mentally, bring them together and drive the people engine forward as they feel a sense of ownership and team spirit. ‘We will…’. This is a short-term approach to galvanise teams, focus efforts and generate bursts of high productivity in a positive and ambitious way.
  3. Get Creative. What’s possible vs. what’s predictable: challenge yourself and your team to be unconventional in finding solutions and ideas. Look for new collaborations and partnerships. When faced with setbacks seek to explore, discover and innovate vs. accept defeat.
  4. Understand the difference between preparedness and catastrophising. Work with your team to get prepared for different outcomes and situations by actively scenario planning different circumstances. But clearly hold these in your mind as “possible” scenarios, not factual eventualities, to avoid catastrophising and creating self-fulfilling prophecies. However, if you’re a leader that always looks for positivity and a high possibility mentality from your team, avoid hearing their valid concerns as catastrophising, but as an opportunity to be prepared. In short, be prepared, try not to catastrophise, but don’t act in denial either.

 

Manage the mood

It’s not just Covid-19 that’s contagious, the mood around it is just as catching! For organisations, stemming a feeling of panic or loss of control is crucial to allow enough head space for people to think and act clearly despite changing goal-posts. For leaders, being transparent, real-time and, above-all, confident, is key. Sticking to the facts and communicating often will give reassurance and clarity. Keeping the mood focused, practical and calm so people can keep working towards goals and creating new possibilities.

Listening to concerns and what people need to keep working is also essential to keep your team productive and thriving. Be open to what’s needed and get flexible; Covid-19 will inevitably pass in time and so being adaptive and open-minded will lead others to stay focused and committed. 

 

Tips for managing the mood:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep people updated even if there are gaps in what is certain, be honest, open and reassuring.
  2. Listen. Hear people’s concerns and requests.
  3. Be flexible. Be willing to make practical changes that keep everyone engaged and able to do their jobs in the short term. Showing up as flexible and understanding will keep the mood optimistic, safe and human.
  4. Talk about mood. Tackle the hearsay head-on and declare the mood you want in the business. Using phrases like ‘Let’s keep the mood calm, focused and sensible’ will set the tone of your thinking and dissipate fears of knee-jerk decisions or panic at the top.

 

The reality’s virtual

There will be breakthroughs in remote and virtual working as a result of Covid-19 owed simply to the fact that everyone’s going to give it a try. It’s easier and more accessible than ever to work remotely, using virtual technology to keep us talking and joined up. Getting your team together or keeping an event in the diary is absolutely possible given the technology available to us today. Not only does this allow for business continuity whilst travel bans or isolation are in force, it’s also a great communication tool for keeping everyone up to date in real-time. Using virtual meeting rooms, video conferencing and Webinars make almost any type of meeting or classroom experience possible. Leaders and businesses who embrace the role of technology and discover what’s really possible will continue to thrive and might even do business differently as a result in future.

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