Resolving a crisis often demands innovation, a change in the way you do things. Discomfort, uncertainty and fear, will likely call on you to hold fast, keep doing what you are doing, or have you feeling overwhelmed, like you have no control, or you can do nothing to influence your situation. I get it, this is the emptiest my sales pipeline has been in a very long time, and it’s not something I can easily fix.
I have spent much of today on the phone with healthcare colleagues and clients around the world – mostly postponing work we have planned over the next few months. Unlike our non-healthcare clients, they do not have the capacity to take stuff online, to continue developing their staff – they are working flat out to care for those in need. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you in health care who might be reading this.
Like any ‘crisis’ Covid-19 is bringing out the best and worst of humanity, I’ve seen all sorts of behaviour from people, as I’m sure you have too. One thing that feels very clear – people are scared, we might not all be scared about the same thing, but there is definitely a heightened anxiety in the air.
From a neuro perspective, whatever you are consciously focussed on gets amplified. At the moment it feels like wherever you look it is fear and anxiety that are getting amplified. Now I’m not saying there is nothing to be concerned about, but I do think we have some individual and collective responsibility to be mindful of what we are spreading around emotionally as well as physically.
I am a great believer in focusing your efforts where you can actually make a difference. As well as obvious self-care precautions, I think there are two areas you can make a real difference.
First, pay attention to what you are talking about, listening too, reading and generally consuming online. Make sure you are amplifying things that actually help you, being reliably informed is one thing, scaring the sh*t out of yourself is totally different. Remember the things that help you feel good, uplifted and resourceful and include some of that in your day where you can.
Second, concentrate on activities that have the potential to sustain your business.
For many of us this will be bringing work online, focusing on how you can engage with clients remotely and looking at how you use a potentially less busy period to develop your business.
While times are tough right now, Covid -19 will fuel a wave of innovation – changes to the way we do business, that will stick long after the virus is gone. One of those will be a greater focus on digital working.
Look first at sustaining your business, think about cashflow, delivering on existing commitments differently and things you already have in place that you may not be using. I bet if most of you did an inventory of your tools and software you’d find some stuff that is underused because it doesn’t fit with how you work, some you don’t know well enough to use to its full potential, some that was just a good idea at the time but you’ve never really got value from.
It often takes an external event to make us change the way we work, we are creatures of habit after all. A great example of this, all be it very different circumstances, was the postal strike in 1988. One of the biggest outcomes was the increase in purchase and use of fax machines, a practice that continued after the strike. What practices might you need to change to operate in an evolving digital world? When you look at what you already have you may find making the transition to more digital working is not as hard – or as undesirable, as you first thought.
Cancel those things you subscribe to and never use – protect your cash flow. Think about things you could offer to clients, if you are in training or coaching for example, you may have several tools at your disposal, things like 360 feedback, profiling tools and team tools – these might just help your clients with the transition to home working, and the emerging work cultures that come with that.
Look at how you stay connected and continue to build relationships with your clients and community – what do you have in place that helps you navigate remote working – personally I’m a great fan of zoom video conferencing it has enabled me to serve clients in a much more convenient manner for both of us, and is now an even more essential part of our business. Have a look at what you have access to, for example Microsoft teams if you use Office 365, Skype, even What’s App or Facebook communities – it may be you already have more at your disposal than you realise.
Finally, think about your future business – what can you reasonably spend your time on now, especially if you are a bit light on client work, to invest in the future of your business. It might be getting round to creating resources to support your main client offerings, it might be creating a digital version of what you sell, it might be learning to use your software and tech more fully, or it might even be investing time in yourself and your own development – personally I quite like the idea of reading, researching, catching up on things going on in my industry and beyond.
Whatever you are doing over the next few weeks, protect yourself – both emotionally and physically, take the opportunity of a quieter time (if you have one) to stay connected with those you serve, to build relationships and to spend some time on your business infrastructure and offerings.
If you don’t fare well working alone – ie. you are easily distracted or demotivated, in addition to our existing Braver FB group, I’m hosting weekly Brave virtual coworking & coffee sessions. These are an open, no agenda co-work session, bring questions, ideas and challenges – let’s connect and lift one another. Join us here at 11am every Wednesday. One plea, there are plenty of places online you can talk about Covid -19 and its impact, this is not one of them, give your brain a break for an hour.