Times like these bring some of the most unique changes we will see in businesses. The dotcom age, 9/11, and the economic reform of 2008 were major moments of regrouping, changing, and coming out more positive in the end. Now more than ever, leadership is very essential for unifying businesses, especially as we face a moral debate of the COVID-19 epidemic.
I handled 2001 differently than I should have for my company. However, I learned from my mistakes and ended up leading us through the 2008 crisis more effectively. We ended up coming out stronger than ever as a business! It all came down to communication, involving my staff, using the right tools, and, above all, taking action!
The following is advice on how you can get through these times:
Don’t think about what your business can’t do, think about everything you can do! Conduct events online, offer delivery services or find a way to provide new services virtually. Ask your customers what they need and bring it to them!
It’s amazing to see teams get involved and have a heightened sense of urgency in times of crisis. Engage them and let them be part of positive change!
Businesses are now coming together to help out. Use virtual roundtables, webinars or conference calls to share and receive advice! During the recession, I moved my desk, sat by my staff, and listened to what they were saying. After all, my staff was the closest to our customers and key suppliers.
A plan focuses and aligns your business to the items you want to change or enhance. Capture ways to improve any people or customer issues while focusing on innovation. Also find ways to cut waste without necessarily cutting people. Gain insight into how you may be able to temporarily cut salary costs while communicating with those that may be impacted.
Don’t think of this as cost cutting, but a way to innovate & provide optimum value to customers. Remain transparent, share these activities, and make sure they are aligned to the business plan. Staff will appreciate that and will want to help where they can.
Businesses need to change quickly. Keep moving the business forward by going through the process of creating or enhancing products, cutting waste, or redirecting roles. It’s important to enforce accountability and make sure everyone is doing what they said they were going to do. Align these action items to your finances so you know what the implications are before assigning them. This added accountability increases business velocity and helps your business prosper!
In addition, don’t forget about including your lending partners in your decision making. Cash preservation is so paramount during times like this. You are all in this together.
As you know, anxiety and uncertainty are at a high right now. Be consistent and openly communicate to your employees, customers, suppliers, and financial partners. Let them know what is going on and how they can help. Align every action and decision to your business plan so you know that everyone is focused to achieving the same plan.
Every problem is an unforeseen opportunity. Use this time to help your employees, customers, and fellow businesses when it’s needed the most. George S. Patton said “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
I wish you all the best as you navigate through these uncharted waters.