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For two decades we’ve been training leaders how to communicate in a changing environment. While this global pandemic is unprecedented, we have seen crises that rhyme with it. The Dot Com bust, 9/11, the North East Blackout of 2003, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the financial crisis of 2008, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi disaster…and on and on. Like those other crises, this too shall pass. But in the thick of it, it sure doesn’t feel that way. Shortages on the shelves, revenue sources drying up, kids bouncing off the walls at home (or teenagers sneaking out), and this time, it’s global.
But if you are more inconvenienced than in crisis, consider this: You not only won a lottery that put you in Canada you won the bonus draw that made you a leader in your organization. Maybe you thought you’d finally earned the right to put your feet up and let the others do the hard work. Think again. Nobody told you there would be days like these.
As leaders – in our homes, our communities, and our companies – we have the privilege, ability, and responsibility to step up in troubled times. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to serve? To literally have the power to better the course of people’s lives? To be beacons of reassurance and hope. Also, to reorganize how we do things as quickly as possible to mitigate damage and explore the opportunities that every crisis brings. If we at Bellrock can move five of you to action, and you move five others to action, we will rhyme with a shampoo commercial from the ‘70s. And we will do good.
What can you do? A lot, but for starters, a daily message to the entire organization. Nature abhors a vacuum and if you aren’t keeping your tribe informed of the latest developments, they may assume the worst. A video meeting would be great, but a conference call or even daily email is infinitely better than doing nothing. People need to hear from leadership whether it’s good news, bad news, or the status quo. Things are changing so quickly that daily is the right rhythm. We rarely hear complaints about over communication. Oversharing, yes. Over communication, no. Book it now and commit to 4 weeks. That’s 20 messages. No excuses because of course you can do it. The downside risk is marginal. So, step up. Be the leader. We believe in you.
A twice daily huddle with your leadership team is also in order. Once at the beginning of the day, once at the end. It will add structure to what for many is a weird way of working, and keep you informed of things that you used to communicate while heating your lunch in the microwave. If, after a few weeks you decide it’s overkill, reel it back in. You don’t need to do it forever, but the reward of regular communication will far outweigh the risk.
What a time of opportunity! You’ve got this.
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