7 Non-Negotiable Tips to Lead through the Pandemic

As we near, what we universally hope is the end of the pandemic, let’s face it – we are not through the proverbial ‘knot hole’ yet.

Many venture to say it could be the end of 2021 before we are back to our ‘new pseudo normal’. And, what I can say with absolute certainty: NO ONE came through this unscathed. NO ONE.

From a business perspective, our small business owners and entrepreneurs surely took huge hits (yes, some thrived, yet not most); and Corporate also felt the strain. There is no question that we and our employees were faced with home schooling, working from home, juggling bandwidth (electronic and other!), elderly parents, and a barrage of challenges – all while juggling ‘business as usual’. Not easy – by any stretch.

What I have noticed – in my own business and with my clients – is that there are 7 actions which need to become habits through this period and beyond.  And no, even though they appear to be basic, I can assure you – they are not being embraced with the level of concentrated effort which is needed going forward. Here they are:

  1. Communication. Communicating ‘as we always have’ is not enough. One of the adages I am known for with my clients is this: “In the absence of a story, another will be written”. So, if we want the story to be THE story…..we must tell it. Communicating THOUGHTFULLY, HONESTLY, and EARLY is vitally important. Often we assume our teams, clients, and constituents ‘get it’ and know what is going on. Yet….ASSUMPTIONS are dangerous – especially in times like these. (Remember, one of my favorite books: The Four Agreements, by Ruiz, – one of the agreements is to MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS). Leave no voids for guesswork. Leave no messages unsaid. People are smart….and we all respond better when we ‘know the score’ than trying to guess what is happening.
  2. Support. We need support from each other. Never before in this generation (sans WWII) has our world been tested to this degree. Every aspect of our lives has been uprooted….from food, water, jobs, education, and even SEEING our families. Let’s get real…this has been HARD…..in varying degrees for varying reasons. Yet, a kind word, a reassuring glance, a supportive note or card…..if that is ALL we can do….we MUST DO THIS. I know how touched and boosted I have been over these past 14-15 months by friends who simply drop me an email to ‘check in’…..that truly is all that is required for many. And, for our co-workers and teams, we need to support through patience, going the extra mile, asking questions to help them solve a challenge…..truly, it is simply NOT THAT HARD to give the extra B12 that so many need.
  3. Empathy. So, I will go on record saying that I have been astounded by certain individuals who have embraced the ‘humble brag’ with tremendous finesse over the past 12-14 months. The unfiltered notices of their $100k months, and their ‘doubling of their businesses’ through this horrific time. As delighted (and actually THRILLED) I am for them, it does not bode well with me that while this boasting to promote their businesses may be well-intended; meanwhile over 500,000 families have been hit with at least one loss of a family member, over 114 MILLION people have lost their jobs in 2020, and over 100,000 establishments were CLOSED…..and none of these stats take into account those of us who have ‘hung on’ yet still suffered HUGE set-backs. So – folks – STOP THE HUMBLE (or NOT SO HUMBLE) BRAG. Try hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes…..one does not have to look too far….and never forget that you could have your day like this, at some point. Empathy is so very important….within your company, your neighborhood, your church, your circle….period.
  4. Research and Respond. As I’ve written before, this situation can serve as a catalyst for us to reinvent ourselves, our businesses, and our models. We have to study, research, explore, and then respond to the conditions around us. Yet, we have to be smart….and follow the truth. When we begin to shift (or to use the ‘over-used word of 2020’: pivot) – we have to be honest and transparent with our clients, teams, and followers – so that they will trust the new direction we are proposing.
  5. Plan. It could be very tempting to jump into the ‘pool of fish’ that seems to be faring better than others. Yet, we know logically that is not always the right answer. Believe me, when I coach my clients, there are many options to consider; yet, not all are relevant or appropriate. In times like these, desperation can lead to poor decisions. We have to consider all alternatives, ask the ‘what if’ questions, weigh the pros and cons, and ALIGN our direction to the ‘end game’ we desire.
  6. Self Care. Often this is the first to go….trust me, I’m guilty as charged! Yet, what I learned about 10 months into this, if we are not taking care of ourselves NOTHING is as it needs to be. We have to eat right, exercise, sleep, read, pray, meditate, watch movies, snuggle with our dogs, play games with our families…..you get the idea. Despite not being able to go out like we used to – we can still ‘recharge our batteries’ – however YOU choose.  Vitally important….and no, it cannot be the first thing to go (I speak from experience on this one.).
  7. Look ForwardLearning from history is important – and that IS a reason to look back and learn. Yet, what I know for sure…..the past is the past. We cannot recreate it nor can we relive it. We CAN learn from it. Yet, the most important aspect (and this is straight from my mom) is to MOVE FORWARD. Chin up. Shoulders back. That is our responsibility….to ourselves, our family, our teams, our organizations, our clients, and our constituents. Easy? Not a chance…..yet, really, the only option we have unless we opt to throw in the towel. And for most of us….that is not an option worth considering.

This has been a doozy of a year++. Yet, my money is on you and on me. We WILL come out of this experience more RESILIENT, SMARTER, GRATEFUL, and OPTIMISTIC than perhaps ever before.

Now…..let’s go SLAY 2021! I, for one, am ready!! (And yes, Lulu left me a few weeks ago…..so pardon the photo below, yet, I’m not ready to totally let her go).

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