I see business leaders going through so much right now amid the uncertainty and chaos. If we all come together, we will come out stronger. The way we lead our teams, companies and families through the next 30 to 60 days will affect the long run of our businesses — and maybe even our economy as a whole.
Here are 10 things leaders should be thinking about right now as we all face the COVID-19 pandemic:
Keep moving. First, we cannot freeze, we cannot stop, we have to DO – we must LEAD. Everyone wants to be a lion until it’s time to do the things lions do. … Well, it’s that time!
Put people first. EVERYONE is scared. Put the well-being of those around you at the top of the list. I often look at decisions as 25-year decisions, as in, “will this matter in 25 years?” It helps me make better choices.
Remember that this is temporary. We may face 30 to 60 days of extreme chaos that we MUST address and manage, and then we’ll have 18 to 24 months of rebuilding and building. We will get through this and be OK.
Plan like you have never planned before. Pick a situation. Define a plan. Work it. Remain flexible, even if hour-by-hour or day-by-day.
See the bigger picture. There are two sides to this situation: We must lead our teams, our organizations and our clients in the immediate disruption, but we should also be exploring the areas we can add value and create opportunity for the longer term. Do what you can to not just focus on the disruption.
Manage cash. It seems obvious, and we tend to jump to cost-cutting first. While we all need to define the areas we can cut back, be sure you are making the right choices with a short- and longer-term view. Think value, not just costs.
Be visible and in constant contact. I am talking to people way more than in previous weeks. I am clearing my schedule to be available and lead more than ever before. I’m leaving my own Zoom meeting room open all day so staffers can bug me whenever they need answers.
Think of your own health. Drink water. Sleep at least eight hours every night. Eat clean and healthy foods. Don’t forget to exercise, and remember your own mental health. Try practicing mindfulness of meditation. And urge your staff to think of their own health, too.
Lean on the resources you already have. Many insurance plans include telemedicine; my company has it, but no one was using it, ever. Dig up the information your team needs and make sure they have it.
Don’t just start doing stuff. Fact-check the resources you’re using, and be careful about sharing information you can’t verify during what’s a fluid and delicate situation. But do communicate what you are hearing, what you are doing, what you'd like to do, what ideas you have and make sure your team knows you’ll work together to ensure your actions are the right ones and are being done in the right way.
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Andy Bailey is a serial entrepreneur who spends the majority of his time coaching other entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders and teams to grow dynamic businesses that focus on people, planning, processes and profit. When he’s not coaching, Andy is relaying his business and leadership experiences to readers of his reoccurring Tennessean and Smallbizdaily.com advice columns and to audience members at various civic and professional events and conferences. His latest venture, Petra Coach, an entrepreneurial coaching firm, is experiencing tremendous popularity and success. He shows organizations the logjams thwarting their success and coaches them past urgent day-to-day fire drills so they can address and execute important higher-level business strategies.