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I’ll admit it, I’m a little scared. I don’t know how this is going to pan out, let alone the short term and long term effect it will have on my business. As a business owner, this is the worst time to hide. It is your responsibility to address your staff and let them know how your organization is going to respond and survive.
I won’t tell you how to run your business. I know that some businesses have to furlough and lay off people. I get it. I also know that good people are hard to find. Especially leaders. I’m going to share with you 3 tips on how to keep your best people during a crisis.
1. Repeat your purpose
If you tell a brick layer to start laying down bricks with no specific purpose or vision of what is being done, the brick layer will eventually quit from fatigue or boredom. If you tell a brick layer that every brick they lay is for a wall that is going to insulate and protect their country, or to shelter their own family, the brick layer now has a sense of purpose.
What vision are you painting for your team right now? Doom and gloom? Or are you sharing your emergency response plan? People only care about food and shelter in moments of desperation, but with people being forced to stay at home, there has been a surge in the home fitness industry, food delivery services, and the need for in-home entertainment. TMZ even reported that there was a strip club using Instagram to live stream their dancers.
I’m confident that somewhere in all this craziness there is a demand for your product or service. Remind your team of that need. Right now you have to sell, sell, and resell your team on the current and future demand of what you have to offer.
When things get tough and money gets tight is when business owners and managers pull the reins back by letting people go. Then to make matters better, they try to assume all the responsibilities of those they had to furlough or let go. Now is not the time for you to put more on your plate unless you absolutely have to. Now is the time for you to lead and find solutions.
Get your best people and delegate more responsibilities to them. This might sound counterintuitive but there’s a reason you’ve identified them as your leaders. I am often surprised by the results of giving my busiest people more work.
During this crisis I have assigned members of my own team new projects to work on. Ideally I’d recommend projects that can generate immediate revenue, but these projects might also include long term growth opportunities that the team hasn’t gotten to yet because of time constraints. Most people are going to have a lot more time on their hands right now.
3. Virtual Hugs
Zoom shares have skyrocketed in the midst of this crisis for obvious reasons. Microsoft Team users have risen by 40% in the last week. Face it, we’ve learned that we can do a lot of things remotely. The compound effect this will have on commercial office space is yet to be revealed.
Productivity aside, there is an additional benefit to these virtual meetings. Human interaction and connectivity. Human beings are social animals. Leave us alone too long in confinement and we’ll start talking to ourselves. The biggest plus to these virtual meetings is the ability to connect with people again. When one of your best team members feels like they are a one woman/man island, they are easier to pick off by other organizations who are willing to listen to them vent.
Take a couple extra minutes to connect with your team. Ask them how they are doing. Listen. You’d be surprised how important lending an ear is for the well being of your tribe.
May we all come out of this united, stronger, and wiser. I hope that these 3 quick tips help your business or organization weather this storm.