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It can be hard to think straight right now, with a plethora of changes that have swooped down upon us all at once—pandemic, working from home, and rapidly changing market dynamics. Fear and uncertainty are powerful movers, but businesses need to focus on facilitating connection right now more than anything else—within teams, with customers, and yes, even with prospects.
The big stress “reveal”
When we’re faced with a crisis, our true colors tend to show. Who you are as a business right now puts your priorities on display for the entire company. How you function in the midst of chaos is indicative of your core culture. Are you demanding more meetings? Pressing for more revenue? Checking in with your people? Your best and worst business values will come out under stress, and it is all about how you go about driving towards business goals at this time.
Bottom line: how an organization gets things done in a disruptive environment is illustrative of what that business values. Here are three suggestions to getting it right:
1. Connecting at all levels
Showing up for your people—your teams and your customers—means even more in times of anxiety and market uncertainty.
Connection is relevant throughout the entire customer lifecycle—not just on the hunt for prospects or when it’s time to renew a subscription. Right now, in this time of social distancing and self-quarantine, we’re all looking for ways to connect. You may be surprised at how open your clients and prospects are to a much-needed conversation. Meeting that need for them and legitimizing their concerns is good business in any climate.
At Wood Mackenzie, our customers and prospects have been exceptionally open to taking calls, attending webinars, and engaging in remote meetings, because we’ve validated their concerns and we’re offering guidance and support for them and their business.
2. Leading in Crisis
The same goes for people within your organization. Leading with introspection is critical to maintaining team morale and showing your personal values to the company. That means listening to concerns, validating feelings, and looking deeply into yourself to find ways to move your team forward. Now is a great time to pivot areas of focus, start new projects, and get teams collaborating in new ways. As leaders, we must fight the urge to be reactionary, and instead be proactive—knowing what we feel and expecting to confront similar feelings in those we lead.
3. Be a tree: tap into your roots
From organization to leader and prospect to customer, all roads lead back to this “true you”—using the values you’ve cultivated to drive relationships and the business cycle. Staying true to the center of your beliefs will keep you grounded during this time of unprecedented change and disorganization. It will give you patience to respond to team members who are angry or stressed while giving your business what it needs most right now—a stable hand and servant leadership.
We’ll all get to shake hands again—that great day is coming. But for now, we have to double down on who we are at the core. If we stand by what we truly believe, we show our best face to our colleagues and our customers. People are searching for connection, insight, and answers—if we can serve up any of those things right now, we’re well positioned (even in our shorts and yoga pants) through whatever may come.