May 05, 2020|
Keep the Lines of Communication Open for Positive Impacts Now
There’s no doubt that our current environment is challenging all of us, for many reasons. Right now, our team members are looking to us for leadership, for clarity—for strength and hope—in the face of this unprecedented adversity.
And that means, right now, we have an opportunity. We can use this situation, challenging as it is, to build stronger teams, to inspire those around us with renewed energy and purpose. The question isn’t whether anything you do can have a positive impact right now. It’s all about how you do it.
Communication is the key here. By opening up the lines of communication with our team members, we can deliver the messages they need to hear from us right now. We can inspire, uplift, and create a sense of purpose, even in the middle of chaos.
To do this, though, we have to make sure we’re getting the right messages out there. I’m focusing on communicating—and overcommunicating—these five messages.
1. Communicate Safety Above All Else
The world right now is a pretty uncertain place. Fear, stress, anxiety—they’re not strangers to me at this point, and I bet you’re acquainted with them too.
So are your team members. When we have these kinds of emotions, we can’t bring our best selves to the table. You may have struggled with concentration or inspiration. You might see even your top performers fighting to stay on task or a team wrestling with a project that should have been in the bag.
This is all perfectly normal, part of the grieving process we’re going through as a community. Our job is to support our team members as we navigate this adversity. Communicating safety and security across all channels will help. And getting this message across doesn’t have to be hard. It can be as simple as making sure the soap dispenser in the restroom is topped up.
Tell the team what steps you’re taking to keep them safe. Update them about on ongoing and new procedures. And don’t be afraid to ask your employees for feedback or ideas—I’ve found plenty of simple and elegant solutions just by asking!
2. Be Empathetic
Every single one of us is going through a lot right now—no matter where we live, where we work, or what our jobs are. You’ve probably been dealing with shifts in your work routine; I know I have, swapping the office for the home office and in-person meetings for virtual ones.
The story is the same with your team members. One person might be trying to work from home and homeschool their kids. Another is worried about their elderly parents or their spouse who’s on the frontlines, day in, day out.
As senior leaders, we can reassure our employees. We’re standing right here with them, going through the same struggles. Their frustrations, their fears are mirror images of our own. Even if all we can offer is empathy, that’s crucial for our team members. It’s incredibly comforting to know we’re not alone, to know those around us get it and have our backs.
This is the kind of adversity that forges stronger team bonds and allows us to rise above crisis. It may not seem like much, but kindness and empathy are the foundation of every support we offer to our teams in this environment.
3. Focus on Your Purpose
Now more than ever, we have to ask about the purpose of a business. The crisis has forced us to look at what’s really “essential,” and it’s left business leaders like us asking about the role we have to play. What is your business bringing to the table?
Chances are our team members are asking the same question. It’s no secret our team members value meaningful work, that they want to join a business that reflects their values.
We need to be able to answer this question for ourselves and our team members. What higher purpose are you striving for? Knowing that is a powerful motivator for so many of us. When we know why we’re doing what we do, what we’re working toward, we can overcome any obstacle—including this crisis.
4. Emphasize Creativity
The crisis will eventually pass, but we’re going to see plenty of change as the dust settles. Consumer behavior has already changed. Simply lifting lockdowns isn’t going to make things go back to “normal” instantly. It’s going to take time, and we have to be patient and willing to put in the work.
We also have to emphasize creativity. “Normal” has shifted, so our thinking has to shift too. Ideas you might have thought were too off-the-wall this time last year might suddenly be the best path forward.
That’s not to say we should throw caution entirely to the wind. Research, innovation, resilience, and clarity are crucial in the coming months. We need to take what we do know, discover what we don’t know, and use that to craft innovative ways of communicating that brand purpose we talked about. Our teams, our customers, and our world has changed, so we have to keep our fingers on their pulse, anticipate their needs, and be ready to meet those needs, even in unexpected ways.
Even a small win can feel like a big one, and I don’t think that has ever been more true than right now. That’s all the more reason we need to celebrate achievements and accomplishments. We’re all looking for hope and faith right now. There is almost no way to overcommunicate positivity.
It’s also important because it lets our team members see our confidence, our faith in them and in the business. They can draw strength and inspiration from that; a “thank you,” a “congratulations,” a “great job” lets our people know we see them, we appreciate them, and we believe in them. With that in their back pocket, there’s nothing they can’t conquer.
In the era of social distancing, we need to find ways to stay connected with our teams and to connect with them even more deeply. The right messages delivered right now will go much further and let us emerge from this crisis even stronger.
Start with the why-
Meet Margo…brand visioning & marketing
Margo Jay is a Master Brand Strategist with a career leading globally recognized brands; developing and launching a proven model that maximizes competitive sales potential and consumer appeal. She has built the model to help companies of all sizes. Her Client roster includes entrepreneurs through to Fortune 100 brands: NHL teams, Global QSR brands, CPG brands, Broadcast brands, Agencies, Non Profit brands, Hard goods…this model and process provides competitive advantage in any category.
Complete clarity. Ownable distinct selling proposition. Shared values. Brand Clarity. Brand Focus. Brand Inspiration. Brand Obsession. Unlocking brand potential is what she does.
And it all starts with why!
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