Things To Do Right Now & How to Lead

Updated April 9, 2020

Things To Do Right Now

  1. Continue to develop and refine your tiered responses as the situation continues. Clearly define the levels of actions you will take with objective measurements and dates that trigger the next step. Tap into financial assistance now. The key factor in PPP seems to be your banking relationship. Members have good contacts, so reach out if you hit a roadblock.
  2. Manage cash and expenses fanatically. Get your team involved. Look at salary cuts vs layoffs – or a combination of the two. Stay on top of receivables. Protect your cash.
  3. Stay close to your team. Be intentional about connecting in a variety of ways very consistently. People are socially starved and each has their own set of challenges around the situation (kids, parents, spouses, health, personal cash flow). Look through their lens and encourage your managers to do the same with their direct reports. Connect 1-1, as a leadership team, as work units and as a company regularly via video conferencing. Be honest, direct, transparent, supportive and positive.
  4. Find now opportunities. Invest in learning that can happen in your company. Tackle projects that are really difficult to do when you’re running at full throttle. Build goodwill with customers and employees as much as possible. Give samples of your product or service to help people and to tee up future opportunities. Cross-train your employees to create multi-dimensional teams. Leverage the technology you have that you’re likely underutilizing. Pivot your products or services into the markets that are thriving now like grocery and healthcare.
  5. Plan for next opportunities. Start planning for how you can reopen safely for employees and customers. How can you set yourself apart by creatively re-engineering your work to protect everyone as you reengage? Look for the opportunities that will emerge in the upcoming weeks and months, and be ready to meet new needs. Shift into markets that will continue to provide more opportunity because of the crisis.
  6. Ask your team members for ideas – on processes, cross-training, technology, working from home, managing parenting and work, safety, cost controls and team-building. Engage them in helping address all the issue around the current challenge and use their ideas.

As a Leader

  1. Take care of yourself first. Focus on what you can control.  Your ability to react positively and see opportunity will improve when you are feeling your best.  Let yourself have fun and laugh.  Remember to sleep – it is a key to keeping a positive frame.  Eat whole foods and move your body every day.  Spend time in the sunshine.  Connect regularly with the people you care about.  And practice your faith and gratitude daily.  Relish the extra time with your family – create new traditions and play together.  And allow yourself to feel what you’re missing right now.  Every moment you spend filling your cup will lead to more energy and positivity you can give your people.  Some members have given up alcohol to stay as sharp as possible.
  2. Find the positive lens.  Keep focused on opportunities.  Be authentic with your people about the ‘now’ and keep them pointed towards the future.  Show empathy and compassion.  Really empathize with how this is affecting them personally instead of pointing out how everyone is impacted.  Be the head cheerleader.  Continue to paint a positive vision of the future.  Don’t forget the celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries with the company – find things to celebrate.   Choose to focus on what’s good, what we’re blessed with and share this message.
  3. Just keep talking. Advice from members – through this time period hold monthly meetings weekly and weekly meetings daily.  Connect as often to as many as you can.  Tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it.  This is a time for leaders to shine, and teams to rally.  And like everything else, it starts with leadership.
  4. Don’t forget to listen.  Everyone of us is impacted by this in a myriad of unique ways.  Ask your team members how they’re doing, then listen to the answers.  Empathize with their specific impact and challenges instead of an ‘everyone’s got something to deal with’ approach. Your understanding goes a long way and has lasting impact.
  5. Paint a positive picture of the future.  For yourself and your team.  The only certainty is we will all get past this.  Remember and remind them this is temporary, and you can all be even stronger and better on the other side.
  6. Be visible. Your customers and your employees are looking to you for hope, direction, and encouragement. Find ways to interact with as many of your staff and clients every day as you can. Use your virtual toolbox and interact via video, email, text and phone.
  7. Remind everyone of your mission and values. This is when they matter the most.
  8. Be positive and optimistic. Set the right tone – this is a serious situation and we will get through it. Your job as a leader is to paint a positive vision of the future. Let them know you have a plan and continue to adjust that plan daily.
  9. Demonstrate Empathy — Frequently. Make sure you remind every employee and team member how much you appreciate their efforts and value them. All the time.
  10. Stay connected with your friends, family, and colleagues. (Safely.) And encourage your team to do the same. More than ever, being in your community is critical to your well-being

From Gallup.  Full PDF Handout here.

  1. Share leadership vision & direction.  It all starts with leadership. Be proactive, establish COVID-19 Task Forces, and embrace the power of teams rallying.
  2. Equip your managers.  Organizations are experience by your employees through your managers.  They are key conduits right now and they are your biggest asset or liability.  Share dos and don’ts of messaging and encourage them to be coaches.
  3. Engage employees and empower your people.  Autonomy is hard to find right now.  How can your employees help the company outside of their current roles?  Highlight the mission & purpose of their individual jobs and help them prepare for the recession.  Data shows that a majority of people think a recession is coming but very few expect it to affect their household.
  4. Successful remote work needs transparency and compassion.  Employees need to know their organization cares about their wellbeing.  Set clear expectations, regular communication and feedback loops and individualize as much as you can.
  5. Embrace the opportunity to be agile.  With the changing market situation and consumer behavior expected for the foreseeable future, what could you company be doing differently?