How To Thrive In Times Of Crisis!
It’s been proven time and again that those companies that successfully navigate a crisis can come out the other end even stronger than how they entered it.
Why is that you may ask? Well, in times of crisis, history shows us that high performing organisations that have been able to thrive, do the following:
Focus on the people not just the task; look for ways to reinvent themselves; manage expenses but do not adopt a scarcity mindset e.g. they very seldom cut marketing or training costs; enhance their focus on the customer; plan for the medium term, but remain agile enough to adjust their plans regularly; Seek input and communicate regularly getting the right balance between advocacy and enquiry.
Following these guidelines in an intentional and detailed way, will increase your organisations’ chances of getting through the crisis, bringing your people along with you, and possibly even emerging stronger than before. We will unpack a couple of these steps in more detail.
Tips On How To Focus On The People, Not Just The Task
What does a people focus look like in a time of crisis? Here are a couple of proven thought starters:
- Check in regularly. Don’t assume that all is ok. Showing that you are interested will go a long way to building engagement.
- Try to provide as much certainty in this time of uncertainty. Even if it is small things that are certain, communicate these so that people can feel more at ease.
- Give people increased flexibility and choice. There is a lot that they cannot control so giving them a few extra things that they do have control over will help their general state of mind.
- Find optimal ways to connect regularly – video is so much more powerful than just voice.
- Follow best practice guidelines for working virtually. Ensure that the basics are in place, but also ensure that your mindset and culture is enabling. For example, it is best practice to focus on the output and outcomes rather than the amount of time people are working.
- Don’t under-estimate the amount of support that people need during these unusual times. Provide support to individuals, to leaders, and to teams. This can be in the form of employee wellness, HR support, or externa coaching for individuals or teams
Looking For Ways To Reinvent Yourself
Why is it that some companies are able to pivot so successfully during times of crisis? One of the main reasons is that they don’t just wait for a new normal to emerge. Instead, they let go of current beliefs and apply a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. This allows them to look for, and embrace, new opportunities.
A further success factor to this, is that they involve the right people. This can be people from various levels and departments, and are also not limited to internal resources. Some call them power teams that go on a journey of co-creation. The results can be, as the name suggests, extremely powerful.
The Importance Of Avoiding A Scarcity Mindset
When looking to adopt austerity measures, companies that have navigated previous crises well, have differentiated between costs and investments.
This ensures that they still maintain some form of an abundance mindset. Yes, of course it is important to cut costs during turbulent times – but it is crucial to select the right cuts to make. A narrow, short-sighted approach would be to take a blanket approach to cost-cutting. While a more proactive, forward-thinking approach is to ensure that two buckets of “costs” are left intact as much as possible – and that is marketing investment and people development expenses.
These two buckets are categorised by high performing companies as investments rather than costs. The obvious reason being, is that these investments will provide a payoff down the line. The more nuanced reason, however, is that they provide a golden opportunity to differentiate yourself and take a leap forward versus your competitors.
From a marketing perspective, when all other companies are cutting back, there are fantastic opportunities to gain major marketing exposure at a reduced cost. Furthermore, companies and brands that invest during these times, face far less clutter and are able to stand out more. They are subsequently able to emerge with stronger corporate or product brands, that sets a crucial platform to reinvigorate the growth cycle when the crisis is over.
From a people development perspective, the payoff from continuing to invest is similar. Your people’s loyalty and engagement will grow, and it has been well proven that engagement has a direct influence on productivity and company performance.
Moving From Theory To Action
All this sounds relatively simple in theory, one may argue, but to actually adopt some of these approaches takes courage. It also requires the ability to pause and step out of the whirlwind, to cast your eye on the future, and visualize what a new normal could look like.
Leadership can be a lonely place. The good news is that you don’t have to tackle this on your own. There are many resources at your disposal, including online forums, business councils, as well as coaching and consulting firms that have the expertise to provide the support, best practices and tailored advice.
About The Author
Nick Najjar is a high impact Coach, Management Consultant, Facilitator and Keynote Speaker. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Synergist, a boutique Consulting and Coaching practice, where he partners with leaders and organizations who desire to unleash their full potential.