There’s a reason the self-fulfilling prophecy concept is so well known – it is so prevalent in a crisis. People panic. Business owners are people. Business owners panic and make rash decisions. Everyone gets scared and productivity suffers. The business can’t perform so people have been architects of their own demise.
I saw first-hand during the GFC that those who stepped forward and did more of what leads to success, not less, made very large gains. I was never busier which proved the point (to me at least.)
Those who succeeded during the GFC focused on what the GFC didn’t change:
- Remember that business purpose guides direction – True North
Your purpose doesn’t change. You may have to focus on new markets and new products but your core purpose – the reason you exist and the people you positively impact in the ways you impact them – usually doesn’t change.
- Stay close to customers
Who needs you, in what way, to achieve what? They are still out there. Get closer to them than ever. Or someone else will.
- Stay close to employees
A virus pandemic changes a lot of things in a unique way yet in a digital world, you are even more equipped for the unique impact of this event. How can your business run productively where your team is virtual and geographically separated? This challenge is not new to many teams – many are already experts at this.
- Create new sales to new markets
If your sales team aren’t used to finding new business, they will be even less likely to do it in crisis. During the GFC, when the tide went out, business owners realised their business hadn’t been selling to new customers for some time. The good news is, this can be learnt.
Be more visible not less to both customers and employees but remember: optics count. Be sensitive to what people need to hear at this time. Keep people connected, informed, positive and supported.
- Adapt your business model
The GFC challenged people to re-think their business model and today, you have so many more digital options. Flatten outmoded structures and involve people more.
- Harness creativity
Human beings in a state of confidence, optimism and enthusiasm are creative geniuses. (When scared, uncertain and fearing the worst, not so much.) Develop your collective creativity as a business – involve everyone in new and creative solutions.
- Connect with others in a similar situation
Form groups, network and connect digitally. Share ideas and you will be amazed at how resourceful people are. Ideas are always better in multiples.
Leadership during a crisis is the leadership that counts. Predictable and steady times don’t call for character, strength and skill. When the tide goes out, leaders are revealed.