Simple Tactics for Thriving During Uncertainty
Over the last 17 years, I’ve seen hundreds of “mini” crisis and a few big ones (2008/2009 ring a bell?). I get a little shaken up by all of them – just like you do. However, as leaders, we’ve got a responsibility to help others through these times.
Today, we find ourselves in yet another unprecedented situation.
However, even amidst the uncertainty, there are simple tactics we can put in place to to help ourselves and our teams thrive during this interesting time.
Obsessing over what could go wrong in your current situation is fuel for your anxiety. All this stress leads to hurried decisions which results in poor outcomes. The best strategy for removing this fuel is to focus on the needs of others.
We all know someone who’s going through a difficult time. Reach out to them and do something to improve the quality of their life. Do this enough and your stress will nearly disappear. When you do something generous, share it on social media. Let’s fill our social feeds with acts of kindness to drown out the anxiety.
Use the next 8 Hours
Another type of fuel that leads to excessive worry is borrowing trouble from the future or beating yourself up over past mistakes. Unless you’ve got a time machine, most of this angst is pointless. When you feel your brain drift into the past or future unnecessarily, ask a simple question –
What can I do about this in the next 8 hours?
If the answer is “nothing” (which it normally will be), then move on to the next task on your plan.
Keep the Routine
In a crisis, you’re probably thinking, “I’ve got to change the way I run my business, manage my team, deal with my clients, etc.”. Unless you’re the NCAA (too soon?), you don’t need to do anything differently. You’re successful because of the routine you’ve developed over the years. Now is not the time to try a million new things.
What your clients, employees, peers and prospects are craving right now is consistency. Deliver it.
Our gut tells us that the best way to address any difficult situation is by doing more activities faster. Unless you’re a Barista at Starbucks® and there’s a line out the door, this is a bad plan.
Hurry for leaders (you) in professional organizations (yours) leads to one thing – bad decisions. Take a deep breath and slow down.
Remember the Truth
Challenging times lead to the inevitable “What If” questions. What if I lose my biggest customer? What if I have a cash flow problem I can’t solve? What if no one likes my product/service anymore? You might as well ask your self – “What if a giant asteroid slams into the earth and ends life as we know it?”
Here’s the truth – you are talented, hard-working and have the resources, experience and wherewithal to handle any challenge (except for the aforementioned asteroid).
Plan Your Week/Day
One of the most important parts of your routine should be planning your week and day in advance. It might feel like outside circumstances dictate that you buckle down and prepare to fight fires (i.e. react) all day long.
Trust me, for most of you it only feels this way. Lay out the key commitments you’d like to get done before the week/day is complete and then execute. Just like you’ve been doing for years.
Exceed Client Expectations
Now is a great time to get crystal clear about what your clients expect from you. (For some of you, your client might be internal to your organization. It’s still a client and they still have expectations.) While the rest of the marketplace/organization is running around “fighting fires” and staying busy, you focus on the only thing that really matters – exceeding the expectation of the most important people in your professional world.
In uncertain times, employees worry – just like you and me. But as leaders, we have an important responsibility. Your job is to bring a calm, confident, consistent approach to your team. You could put inspiration quotes up on the wall or send out a funny meme, but that only does so much.
One factor is more important than all others when setting the tone with your team – body language. So, the minute you walk in the office – stand up straight and smile, even if you must fake it – which you will at times.
You don’t have to watch the news/social media all day long to stay informed. The data is crystal clear – all this does is stress you out a ton more. Check it twice a day, then turn it off.
Remember – you got this.
Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash