By Bruce Skaistis
Economists are predicting a surge in bankruptcies of small and middle market companies tied to the double whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic and destabilization of oil prices. Since companies are going to be have to learn how to operate in a very different business world, we are starting a new series on Recovery.
First Key to Recovery
The first key to getting back on track is to get everyone in your company on the same page heading in the same direction ASAP. Getting everyone on the same page is always important – but it’s particularly important now as you set a new direction for your company.
The challenge is that your company probably isn’t operating like it did a few months ago. You might have fewer people than you used to have, some of your people may be working from home while others may be operating under new rules onsite – and most of your people are at least a little concerned because their world has changed dramatically and they are trying to figure out what it means for them.
Five Things You Should Do
Regardless of how your company is operating, there are five things you should do to get everyone on the same page and heading in the same direction:
1. Establish Priorities – Clearly define what NEEDS TO HAPPEN this week, in the next 30 days, and in the next 90 days. Your people and your company only have so much energy – so make sure that energy is focused on the important stuff that needs to be done.
2. Set Expectations – Make sure everyone in your organization knows the priorities and exactly what you expect from them. Even if your company’s priorities aren’t very different than they were before, you need to make sure everyone is focused on the same priorities.
3. Give Immediate Feedback & Coaching – Provide encouragement and immediate feedback on performance. Tom Peters is credited with coining the term “Management by Walking Around” (“MBWA”) – which loosely translates as get your ass out of your office and see what’s going on. The walking around part may have to be a little different, but you still need to be “seen” and you need to know what’s going on.
4. Encourage Questions – Be accessible for questions. Even if many of the questions are completely off base, be patient and answer the questions. Right now, making the effort to answer questions is more important than the answers because you want to show your team that you are “there for them.”
5. Keep Doing It – Reset #1 and #2 every week and keep doing #3 and #4. Recovery won’t happen in a few weeks, it’s going to take months to create a new “normal” for your employees, business, and company.
These are things you should be doing anyway, but they are even more important now. As a leader, getting your organization back on track falls on you – and you are going to have to work hard to make it happen. It won’t be easy!