August 14th, 2020
With the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on businesses across the country, many leaders have been forced to focus most of their time on financial and logistical issues to keep their businesses afloat. As things slowly return to a more normalized tempo, it’s important that you take a step back and consider other elements that may require a different kind of leadership going forward.
We’ve identified seven, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Many businesses have moved to 100% remote teams, or partially remote teams. This has an impact and unintended consequences on your team members and your clients. It’s essential when people are remote that you err on the side of over-communicating. If you consider an average day in the office, there’s a lot of communication that occurs … some formal, and a lot informal. This suffers when teams are remote. As the leader, consider some intentional ways you can be more proactive and consistent in communicating with your team members and with your clients. Voids in information cause unnecessary (and wrong) assumptions, rumors, and even gossip. This can be the beginning of the end if it’s not addressed – and it is up to the leader to make it happen.
- Be Intentional With Culture
Often resulting from the lack of communication and personal contact, culture can suffer greatly with remote teams. It’s up to you, the leader, to evaluate what needs to be adjusted to keep your company culture alive and thriving … even with remote teams. It’s a challenging proposition for sure. Consider bi-monthly team outings to keep your team engaged with each other. Implement feedback apps to give your team an easy way to communicate with you and with each other. Some creativity may be needed to keep people engaged … but this is why you are the leader. There may be opportunity to empower team members to lead this effort!
- Review and Update Your Interview Strategies
You may have perfected your interview questions and hiring strategies pre-COVID19. But they surely need review and adjustment post-COVID19 if you’ve moved to full- or partially- remote teams. Questions that focus on internal motivation, dealing with challenges in an isolated environment, as well as their actual “home” work setting and equipment will be required to assess a candidate’s ability to work from home productively.
- Review and Update Your Feedback & Performance Review Strategies
Another consideration related to human resources is your feedback and performance review strategy. With remote teams, it’s not just formal feedback that can suffer. In an office environment, workers get constant feedback from their co-workers and leaders. That feedback comes in the form of “thank you,” “great job,” smiles, pats on the back, and other cues that aren’t spoken. When working from home, this all goes away … unless you implement a process to make sure it happens. This is, by far, one of the most important things you need to do as the leader to ensure your team remains happy, productive, motivated, and on mission.
- Reconsider Your “Emergency Fund” Requirements
Pre-COVID19, you may have thought your business emergency reserve was well-funded. It’s likely you discovered it wasn’t for a crisis of this length and nature. Dave Ramsey recommends having 6-months of operating expenses in reserve (including your salary) at all times. Considering COVID19 issues that are still here after six months, even if you had 6-months worth (which most businesses don’t), the question is whether your business would still be okay without any financial aid injection. Now is the time reflect on your business situation and create a plan for your company moving into the future.
- Review Your True Financial Position
A fear of many in the financial industry is that business owners are becoming complacent with the cash influx they received as a result of the PPP and EIDL programs. When there’s cash in the bank, it can mask real financial problems in the company for the short term. Don’t let this happen to your business. Now is the time to take a real assessment for your business’ true financial position (minus the aide you may have received). How healthy is it – really? And what steps need to be taken to carry the business into the future?
- Review and Update Your Crisis Plan
It’s more than likely you learned a thing or two during the COVID19 crisis. Before those lessons fall by the wayside, it’s important to sit down and make a list. Make a list of the expected and unexpected challenges you faced. Then, include the steps you implemented to address them, as well as the things you had to do or create that you weren’t prepared for. Use this information to update your business crisis plan. Don’t wait. It’s your responsibility as the leader to see around corners and make sure the business is prepared to handle whatever crisis comes its way.
What did we miss in our list?
One of the benefits of LXCouncil Mastermind groups is that members have the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and challenges. We’d love to hear from you about things your business may have experienced during this crisis and what you did to address the challenge.
If you’re ready to take your business and leadership skills to the next level, and if you think your business could benefit from more insights like what’s offered in this article, let’s start a conversation. LXCouncil may be the perfect next step!