Burnout will be the next crisis, but HR can beat it
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How leaders responded to change in 2020
How you show up in a crisis is a good indicator of who you are as a leader so plan your pivot tactically Unleash Your Leadership
The response of organizations and leaders after the first 48 hours that city and state governments forced the closure of businesses of all sizes due to COVID-19, set the stage for businesses to have either great success or crushing unrecoverable defeat.
The business success hung in the balance of the organizations ability to pivot, the leader’s capacity to innovate, work collaboratively across the enterprise and execute flawlessly in the time of great crisis. Conventional wisdom has it that how you show up in a crisis is a good indicator of who you are as a leader.
It is fair to say no organization or leader could have been 100% prepared for the unprecedented events of the first half of 2020. Organizations and leaders were catapulted into what I call a triple pandemic; first the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the world, the economic crisis that ensued and the murder of George Floyd an unarmed black man by police which set off global social unrest forcing companies to go deeper in discussions of race in ways the annual Diversity and Inclusion training did not touch. Specifically, racism in America and how that plays out within the walls of corporate America for black people, but also for women and the LGBTQ community.
the murder of George Floyd forced companies to go deeper in discussions of race in ways the annual Diversity and Inclusion training did not touch.
Management of these escalating issues left no room for error. Business leaders had the added pressure in ensuring they were delivering stakeholder value to investors, customers, employees, business leaders, partners, and communities and regulators. Failure to properly and effectively manage stakeholder expectations could result in a myriad of problems including the demise of the business. Business leaders were clear that management of these key value expectations to their stakeholders and under this pressure is no short order even for the most experienced executive.
Before March many US companies were experiencing growth, profits, meeting quarterly financial and EBIDTA targets in the longest-running U.S. economic recorded expansion. By June these same companies were concerned about the future based on the escalating effects of COVID-19 and how consumer behaviors were altered due to government lockdowns of many businesses.
The most important thing business leaders can give to all its stakeholders is a company that wins in the marketplace under any conditions.
Over time we have learned to prepare for the unknown by studying models on how to manage the unforeseen and unpredictable. Any business worth its salt has a developed, practiced and effective business continuity to plans to ensure the business can run effectively and meet stakeholders’ expectations during inclement weather events or natural disasters. Studying these models and how leaders have responded successfully are great maps, Organizations are now better prepared to respond to a myriad of unexpected events such as natural disasters, inclement weather events, and network disruptions, no plan can account for the unknown, now known to us as COVID-19.
Think innovatively and use this time to challenge the status quo.
Here is a look at what some of the leading business leaders did from some of the most well-known companies during the first 48 hours after they learned of the potentiality of COVID-19 impact on their business and the threat of government-mandated closures.
Remember to show empathy and concern to your employees. They are balancing a myriad of emotions and concerns which includes fear of the future. Remind your employees of who you are as an organization, and your commitment to them as well as your customers. Be transparent and honest and communicate in ways that are clear and concise that allows employees to focus on their jobs and keep the company productive and meetings its strategic objectives.
Your employee’s and stakeholders need to know you are fully present and in charge, you cannot be the wizard behind the curtain pulling all the levers or shaking like a reed in wind. Being visible means, frequent video and written communication with status updates on the most important aspects of the business. Equipping your leaders with talking points and FAQs so they show up prepared to answer questions from all directions that are aligned to your key message with no deviation. Most importantly let all communications show EMPATHY! Let your employees and stakeholders know you care. Allow your HR team to do what is does best, in the words of Dave Ulrich “help you deliver a winning company to the marketplace.”
Are we working from home or living at work?
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