“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.” – Ray Kroc
The culture we create for our teams is ultimately what binds us together and keeps our revenues flowing. As leaders, we need to make sure that this engine of our company is greased and fuelled, and it’s up to us to set the course. Here are four tips to help you drive through this COVID-19 storm with your culture intact.
Stop Talking About Normalcy
The goals you have for your business are the goalposts you’re running toward. Whether the touchdown takes a week or five years, you know where the line is and what direction to run in.
How you talk about the future affects how your team moves toward those goals. If you act in a holding pattern until the pandemic is over, they will too.
When the pandemic started, the phrase “back to normal” was on everyone’s lips. Week by week, it’s becoming more evident that, virus or no virus, the paradigm shifts that 2020 has brought are here to stay.
Over half of Millennials and Gen Z workers say that they plan to retain some of the “lockdown” behaviours they’ve learned post-COVID. Some of those slow-emerging business trends have exploded: value has been redefined in many ways, and it’s fair to say that the digital and e-comm explosion has changed the way people think about spending money for the long term.
Your customers won’t expect the same service or products again. Your team won’t look at work/life balance the same way again. And if you placate them by assuring them that the old “normal” is coming back, you’re telling them to run toward a goalpost that has disappeared.
Clinging to a nostalgic idea of normalcy has another effect: it clouds your own goals and ignores the opportunities ahead. There are new frontiers now – exciting ones – and they are ready to be explored by businesses who see the new goalposts and move with the game.
The business world has never changed faster. From how to keep your employees safe to marketing your products in a world of altered expectations, big decisions are coming at us every day.
Your team looks to you to have a calm hand on the wheel. There will be inner turmoil and a generous helping of self-doubt. But to the team, your job is to make the necessary choices—unwaveringly. When you’re steadfast, they’re eager.
Change Your Schedule
You know what your “normal” schedule used to be. Many of us are still trying to stay on it, as that’s what has worked for us before.
But just as “normal” has changed, so too have the needs of our team and our customers. Paradoxically, even as we distance physically, we have never needed human contact more than we do now.
If more face-time with the team is what will help them adapt, then make it happen. If more “just because” touchpoints with customers will retain them as loyal to your business, do what you can to deliver. Those two groups of people are the Alpha and Omega of your business, and they’re always more important than whatever is on your computer screen.
Look Out For Yourself
Self-care is more vital than ever. We’re all standing on a razor’s edge, and to leadership, there’s the added pressure of running your team.
Build the time you need for yourself into your schedule. “You-time” is crucial to keep the anxiety at bay and remain present through the other tasks at hand. You set the tone for your team’s culture; a calm hand on the wheel makes for a steady journey.
In Dickens’ famous words “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” COVID has brought us a lot of challenges, but it’s also created a lot of opportunities. As leaders, we can position ourselves to drive our organizations to the next level by being agile, staying steadfast, allocating our time well, and taking care of ourselves. Let’s keep our eye on the ball and show our people how to do the same.