The Coronavirus is impacting the world markets, economic wealth, travel, businesses and the way we go about life; and is likely to continue to have an impact to differing degrees for many weeks, months and years. As often said, life will never be the same again, but equally, we will emerge from this crisis. An important learning is the value and need for brotherhood and good neighbourliness.
What I think is of paramount importance during these times of VUCA, (to me this acronym is an uncomfortable-looking and sounding “word” – it stands for uncomfortable things too – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity), is that we maintain communication with our staff and colleagues and provide the reassurance that they need – Communicate across, down and up to keep up their spirits and let them share their worries.
These are the key points that I have addressed with my own teams:
With so much scaremongering in the media, it’s important to access trusted resources, typically government, national health services and trusted service provider sites for up to date information.
2. Explain your business continuity plan
How are you as an organisation planning to ride the stormy waters? What can your staff expect from you and what do you expect of them? If the news is “bad” share quickly to allow them to plan. In many circumstances, companies will not be able to access certain offerings and therefore staff may be impacted differently by opportunities offered to the company or themselves directly.
3. Address people’s fears
Lead from the front, whilst remaining supportive. No one expects you to have all the answers but demonstrate that the lines of communication are open. Listen to questions and find the answers and share it widely as others will have the same questions. Your mindset is infectious, therefore a positive mindset from the leadership makes life easier for yourself, as well as others, supporting clear thinking and lowered stress levels.
Use online collaboration tools to aid communication and repeat frequently on various forums as people cannot take in everything at once and will absorb more effectively through their choice of mediums, so use more than one communication channel.
World economies and our customers are going to feel the strain, and therefore by default, it will affect our own businesses by either business projects being put on hold, a slowdown in trade, reluctance to make decisions, non-payments, cashflow squeeze or reduced appetite to be creative in difficult times.
My focus as a plural entrepreneur is that we will get through this phase #strongertogether with creative thought engineering being deployed to deliver business growth as an outcome.