In 6 short weeks, the US has gone from watching a viral outbreak abroad to seeing daily life be upended in nearly every facet. The spectrum of responses is undoubtedly broad: with some overcome with fear and anxiety and others who see it as a political stunt or media-fueled hoax.
Over the last week, our leadership team has been thrust into the great beyond of both supporting our team and protecting the business.
In reflecting back on the decisions made to this point (and many more to come), the following are some thoughts that have been helpful in navigating thus far:
1) Start with envisioning the best and worst (yet plausible) case scenarios
With each day bringing more information, what would you do if the situation dramatically worsened for days, weeks or months on end? Recognizing the future reality is somewhere in the middle, what would you do if it were 50%, 75% or 100% as negatively impactful as the worst-case scenario? This is a helpful exercise to consider the burden on the team, culture, and business and make wise decisions considering all of the impact points.
Like mushrooms, fear grows best in the dark. Provide direction and ensure that it’s safe to ask questions and share concerns. When team members and customers have information, they can (ideally) more precisely direct their concerns and plan accordingly versus spending undue energy guessing what the leaders are thinking and planning.
3) Do It Together
Processing with other leaders from various types of organizations to discuss concerns, balance perspectives on what’s possible and discuss creative solutions is far superior to simply waiting for the government to provide directives or taking action because of another businesses’ response.
What have you or has your organization done well responding to the COVID-19 pandemic or other unexpected trials?
Cheers to the great responsibility and burden of leadership.