Planning for the Unexpected

In many of my workshops and masterclasses, I have talked about the importance of both planning for the unexpected, and as leaders how we need to take ownership, accountability, and responsibility within our organisations.

Following the announcements on Saturday, we are quickly heading into Lockdown again. This will of course have an impact on every single business and home across the UK. There is though, no point thinking about what could or should have happened, we’re here. What we must do is learn from last time, and make sure we have a plan to lead our organisation forward, to ensure survival in these uncertain times.

At this point, it’s very understandable for people to feel uncertain, fearful, worried, and fed up. The more people worry the worse they feel and then they worry some more! As leaders, it’s our role to break that cycle. Until we have a vaccine, we need to provide our own vaccine – an antidote to the fear and uncertainty:

1. Clarity of purpose and a vision

All teams become listless or even depressed when there’s no vision or confused goals. You don’t have to be the one to have all the ideas, but you do need to be the leader stating them clearly. Let’s be clear – you need to provide an inspiring vision and clear goals and it needs to be in writing. Put it on the walls, on the website, on your invoices, everywhere.

2. Demonstrate unshakable confidence

If you’re not inspired and confident, how can you expect any of your team to be? By all means, be human, show some vulnerability, and then get your act together and communicate with absolute confidence. Don’t act, don’t fake it, be real, be truly confident.

3. Communicate positively and frequently

Regular communication with your team is vital. A monthly team meeting could be sufficient but weekly is usually the minimum. In times of turmoil or challenge, ramp-up the communication to daily. Maybe 5 minutes on Zoom each morning or lunchtime, or a nice email (not a grumpy one), or both.

4. Set clear goals and ensure everyone has a plan

Your aim is to ensure that every team member knows where the company is headed, they each know their role in getting there, and they feel confident that they can do it. Anything less will result in some degree of failure, and that, as the old saying goes, is not a viable option.

5. Structure

When people are feeling unsettled, unsure, worried… give them structure. If a team has been working in an office and is now working from home, this is especially important. Define regular catch-ups, regular communication, and regular, short, 1-to-1 conversations. Every team member is important – make sure they feel that way.

6. Celebrate every win, no matter how small

Not everyone is comfortable with this. If that’s you, if you say “but they’re just doing the job I pay them for” trust me when I tell you it’s an expensive mistake. Didn’t your mother ever teach you? Be generous with your praise. It means a lot coming from you. Say thank you, say well done, and mean it. Good people have a choice where to work, so look after them. If you haven’t yet communicated with the people who will be looking to you for leadership, please send a message now. They’re waiting.

“The leaders who get the most out of their people are the leaders who care most about their people.” – Simon Sinek

My children know too well I always tell them “there isn’t a problem, just a solution yet to be found” In this case, we are not only seeking a vaccine, but a more immediate solution to ensure you and your business survive these difficult times.

Alongside a great plan and solution though, is the need for the right mindset, and an accountable approach. Winston Churchill summed up the positive mindset we need in these words…

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Let’s make sure we act NOW to lead our organisations and teams at these difficult times. ActionCOACHBirmingham is here as always to support you through this. 

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