Leading Through a Crisis – Part 2
In case you missed Part 1 of our 2-part series on Leading Through a Crisis, we covered how good leaders can show up for those we lead right now. You can read it HERE.
Things are strange out there. I would dare say 99% of us have not lived through anything remotely as serious as the situation we’re facing. Times like these tend to drag our focus as business leaders into all the ‘noise’ around us – blow by blow media updates, panic, worry, paralysis.
Leadership guru John C Maxwell states that leaders are not made in times of crisis, they are revealed. Nobody ever became a great leader overnight. Leadership is a skill that can be learned and practiced, so those who have been learning and practicing over the past several months and years are now stepping up and finding out what they’re capable of. Those who haven’t yet invested in their own leadership development are looking for strong leaders to help show them the way.
Today in part 2, we’ll focus on the 3 P’s we as leaders need to be considering right now – Pivot, Protect, Profit.
During this time when businesses are in unprecedented situations, we as the leaders can do one of 3 things:
- Do nothing – sticking our heads in the sand on this one is a certain ‘death wish’.
- Make some adjustments – if we manage to change a few things about how we work, we may just manage to squeak through alive, but the ride will be rough.
- Do the RIGHT things – if we focus on embracing 3 things right now, we’ll come out the other side in a stronger position than when we went in.
Let’s look at each of the 3P’s that will help us not only survive this situation but strengthen our businesses in the interim. The first is PIVOT. The word ‘pivot’ has become quite a buzz-word over the last 2 weeks, but it’s completely relevant. My favourite definition of the word ‘pivot’ comes from the world of basketball where it means that the player can move in any direction while having one foot planted on the floor. What a brilliant definition.
To me, pivoting in business means being able to move or adapt (in ANY direction we need to) without losing sight of our ‘why’ or our purpose for doing what we do (keeping one foot planted on the floor). When we remain focused on our purpose and on people, we will pivot in ways that serve everyone the best way possible.
There are, however, 2 specific areas in which we need to consider pivoting. The first is our message. Your patients want 3 things from you right now: calm, certainty (hope) and positive action. When you consider your communication or message that you’re putting out in the community to your prospective/future patients as well as your existing ones, ensure you’re focused on delivering messages that reinforce those 3 things. Tell them you’re doing what you can to still remain helpful, tell them you know we’ll come through this and tell them WHAT specific actions you’re taking now to help – your team, the community, etc.
The second thing we obviously need to pivot is in how we deliver our services and products. Now for some of you reading this, you are completely unable to open the doors of your clinic. This pivot will become especially challenging for you, but not impossible. How can you deliver VALUE (even if it’s not your regular service) to your patients and to the community from behind closed doors? How can you help? If you haven’t already, sit down and invite your team to brainstorm with you the different ways you can continue to contribute. In times of crisis, our creativity shows up!
The second ‘p’ we need to focus on is Protect. There are 3 areas we need to focus on protecting right now. The first is our own power and energy as leaders. We need to ensure we’re getting enough sleep, getting some exercise and taking breaks from thinking about work. You can view this situation as a gift. We have been given the gift of TIME with our loved ones and with ourselves. You will never get it back, so use this time to take care of yourself and those you care about.
The second thing we need to protect is our clients! They need to hear from you now. Remember, we said they need calm, hope and positive action or positive direction. Give them that. Touch base and find out if you can support them in any way. Let them know you’re still ‘open for business’ but some are just ‘dormant’ right now. More is more right now. More communication is better than less or none.
The third thing we need to protect is our teams. Rinse and repeat when it comes to the above point about clients.
Finally, we need to focus on the third ‘p’ – Profit – right now. Now let me first say that profit and revenue are NOT dirty words in this situation. We need to do whatever we possibly can to continue to make money and pay our bills. If we all focus on that, it will help the overall economy recover faster afterward. Here are three specific ways we can realise some profit:
- Dump dumb expenses – review your outgoings and look at what you can live without. Do you have a software subscription of some sort that NEVER gets used? Dump it. Be careful with inventory levels if you sell products.
- Double down on investments – look at what will help you be in a stronger position after this is over and invest in it, even more than you normally would.
- Don’t disappear – another thing we need to look at is doubling down on promotion. This doesn’t necessarily have to be paid promotion but ways we can remain visible to our target market. If we disappear off their radar, they’ll assume we’ve gone under. We can’t allow them to come to that conclusion.
I trust these articles have been helpful for you in some way. Stay calm. Focus on what you can control. Keep moving forward. We’re here to help. Get in touch if you need support – firstname.lastname@example.org.