The post-Coronavirus world will look a little different from the old. We are all currently living and doing business in a VUCA environment – and once the immediate challenge dissipates, our organizations, teams, and work will have to change to accommodate the new normal. What does this mean for you? And how can you prepare your organization to anticipate and adjust to these changes?
Don’t fear the worst. Leading through uncertainty involves first and foremost a perspective shift – a focus on gratefulness for your people, your business, and your current and future opportunities. With this in mind, release your anxiety about the future. There will be difficulties, but also new avenues for strengthening your business, developing your team and expanding your capabilities as a leader.
Begin preparing yourself and your team to be successful in the post-pandemic business environment by embracing these four mindset, work, and culture shifts.
Embrace an owner mentality
It’s completely normal to be scared and think about what’s been lost – but try not to stay stuck in that space. When it comes to running a business in a VUCA world, feeding a victim mentality will blur your vision and prevent forward progress. An owner focuses on what they can control and empowers the people around them to do their best work, even in the midst of uncertainty. What can you control? The way you manage and advocate for your team – by providing clear information and feedback, managing resources well, and staying present and visible as your reports transition to the new normal. Don’t pull back on communicating with your team as business returns to usual. They need to hear news and updates from their leader first – and know that you are continuing to keep your hand on the wheel.
Examine ways you can clear obstacles for your people
Work in the age of social distancing has involved home offices, plenty of video conferencing, and heaps of understanding as we’ve managed remote work in the midst of a crisis. Depending on your circumstances, your team might move back to their offices and traditional working hours – but there’s no reason you can’t maintain the spirit of flexibility and cooperation that got us through this challenging time. This is an excellent time to consider whether you can formalize benefits like flex time and remote-work capabilities. Chances are, you already have talented employees who would appreciate these benefits – especially anyone who combines work and caregiving. Take this opportunity to assess which benefits would most impact your people – as a result, you’ll go a long way towards earning the loyalty of the employees who helped carry you through this crisis.
Build on your innovative culture
Far from being a buzzword, you have become intimately familiar with innovation these past few weeks. You’ve developed new ways to hold team meetings, check in with clients, and enable access to your products in this deeply unusual time. Harness that energy – don’t let it fade away once work returns to “normal.” Have your clients indicated that they want you to build on your remote capabilities? Can quarantine-compatible product pipelines continue to be used or improved in this new world? Crisis has a way of exposing cracks and weaknesses – but also opportunities. You and your employees know your business best, so continue to involve and engage the whole team in expanding and taking advantage of the present opportunities.
Focus on development
Challenge periods build new muscles, and your team has likely had to rapidly develop new skills around communicating, managing up, and strategic planning in order to keep projects moving ahead in these volatile times. It’s difficult to provide training, coaching and feedback in the midst of a crisis – but when things calm down, you should prioritize meeting with your people individually, naming the pain points, and figuring out how to develop the talents that the crisis uncovered. People development is a great long-term business practice, and provides immeasurable benefits to your employees, who are being equipped to build their careers and become leaders and change-agents within your organization.
Operating in this COVID-19 VUCA world has been a huge challenge for businesses across the globe – perhaps the biggest challenge in generations. Going forward, teams that push through this difficult time will be equipped to do business with fewer resources, utilize technology to work more efficiently, and innovate new ways to build market share. The new normal is still uncertain and will undoubtedly be complex – but a leader who is able to embrace these shifts will have an even stronger team and organization because of it.
Success Labs is a leadership development and management consulting firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more than 25 years, our expert team of consultants has worked with hundreds of companies to grow leaders, build teams and drive results through great people strategy.