5 Things Every Business Leader Should Be Doing This Month
A month ago, pretty much everything in the business world was phenomenal.
Whether you were in services, retail, B2B, B2C, most industries were booming. Of course, we know how quickly COVID-19 spiraled things out of control.
It’s not even a month later, and we’re dealing with record-breaking unemployment, cash flow problems, and a whole lot of uncertainty.
In times like these, there is a lot on everyone’s mind. Stress is elevated. Pain and desperation are real.
While I can’t necessarily help your business from a financial perspective, I do want to help somehow. As my team and I brainstormed resources and advice we could create, we came up with this list of to-dos to help you get through the next few months.
Here are some of the best things you can do for your business in April 2020.
Consistently Communicate With Your Team, Especially the Bad News
In times of uncertainty, communication is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.
Especially now, without in-person meetings, a lack of communication can damage trust and confidence in your organization.
I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule about how often to communicate, but it’s safe to say that it should be more than you would in a “normal” setting. It can be as simple as “Good Morning, how is everyone doing today?” via Slack or a weekly conference call with members of your team.
If you have bad news to communicate, be upfront and brutally honest.
Clue-in everyone the moment you have new information. Yes, it’s terrifying to announce a cash flow problem or potential layoffs. But your employees are scared. Don’t leave them in the dark.
Something to consider is that, in times like these, employees generally want to help their businesses. A month ago, if you had cash flow problems, people may have begun to apply elsewhere. Today, people are open to working with you to keep business afloat and staying despite short-term financials.
Consider How You Might Manage a Hybrid Workforce Model
Hopefully, in a month or two, some team members can start going back to the office. But for those who can’t (whether caring for kids, sick, or at-risk), they will likely be working remotely through the summer (and possibly through the end of the year).
This office and home split will need special attention. There will be changed team dynamics and team members who feel disconnected. How will you handle this to make sure everyone is supported and working together?
The best advice I can give now is to keep communication lines wide open and maintain the remote culture you’ve created over the last month. If you’ve started virtual happy hours, continue them throughout the summer, even when most of your team goes back to the office. This simple gesture can unify your office team with your home team and hopefully keep everyone connected until this pandemic is officially contained.
Start Thinking about Your Ramp Up Plan
We’ve been so focused on what to do now, that it seems preemptive to think about when things go back to normal. But the transition back to “normal” could be a real problem for many of us, so it’s essential to start strategizing.
Hopefully, once COVID-19 is contained, things will ramp back up quickly. But this ramp-up could turn into a nightmare, especially if you’ve had to layoff a significant portion of your workforce. It’s possible that some of your team can be hired back, but it’s naive to think that everyone will. Some may stay out of the workforce, some may find other companies, some may start their own companies.
Imagine needing to hire an entire team of workers at once. It will take time, resources, and strategy.
My advice is to have a team of contractors, partners, and technology in place for the quick and dirty acceleration that will happen later this year. There will be a real competitive advantage for companies that have functioning teams when the economy turns back on.
If You Are Able, Do Some Good
The last thing every business leader should do this month is: spread kindness and help where you can. If your business is doing alright, reach out to your partners and clients and see how you can help.
Refer someone who has recently lost a job. Introduce companies who might be able to help each other. Support your local restaurants.
Big or small-if everyone does something good this month, the ripple effect will be noticeable for months.
That being said, if I or my company can help you during this rough time, please reach out. We have an incredibly talented group of developers, designers, business analysts, and technology consultants. If you have a question or need advice, we are more than willing to assist in any way we can.
Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
Besides communication, this is one of the most important things I’d like to stress. If you’re a business leader, you’ve gotten here through hard work and productivity. The messy home office and inability to focus may be throwing you for a loop.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
You’re dealing with things that few have had to deal with ever before.
If you’re a working parent, you’re struggling with your kid’s needs 16 hours a day.
If you’re working while your significant other has been laid off, you’re now facing financial stress.
If you’re working and someone you love is sick, you have major distractions and possibly new responsibilities.
These are just some of the scenarios that are happening right now across every company. The fact of the matter is that everyone is dealing with things out of their control. Stop for a moment and give yourself a break.