7 Tips for Leading Your Business in the Corona Outbreak
With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting human lives globally, the world continues to reel under its effects. Apart from health concerns, coronavirus has already had some serious long-term business and economic consequences.
Business leaders all over the world are feeling the heat of the pandemic, with some closing their operations while others trying to stay afloat in the moment. Progressive leaders, however, are thinking ahead, planning for the future of the business, and preparing for what’s to come next.
So, what are the implications of the ongoing pandemic on good leadership? How can leaders effectively navigate their business in this time of uncertainty?
Let’s find out what steps business leaders can take in this regard.
1. Stay Updated on the Current Scene
With new events unfolding at lightning speed, the “current” picture keeps changing on a daily basis. Until a few weeks ago, it seemed as though the virus was largely restricted to Chinese borders and the situation was being managed. However, it did not take long for matters to spiral out of control with epicenters of infection mushrooming all over the world. These kinds of developments have necessitated the creation of new mitigation strategies rather than confinement plans.
It is necessary that business leaders constantly keep themselves abreast of the ever-changing situation on a daily basis. Doing so is imperative not just for updating data or passing on information, but also for reframing organization-wide perspectives.
2. Continue Internal Communication
The internet is exploding with information about coronavirus, which is easily accessible to everyone, including employees. Leaders may, therefore, infer that with large amounts of information available externally, they need not take additional steps to keep staff informed.
It is, however, crucial that leaders create a summary of facts and implications on a regular basis and share this information throughout their organization. This helps greatly because employees do not waste time debating over what the facts are or harbor different assumptions about the facts.
3. Go with the Experts
We are still learning about the critical features of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is of paramount importance that business leaders employ an iterative and pragmatic approach to gain a clear understanding of what’s going on, as well as what’s working and not working. This is where expert guidance comes into the picture.
There have been pandemics before this one, and each has been unique and unpredictable. Lessons from the past have made it clear that expert opinions on critical issues like containment policies and economic impact can differ. It is always good to consult multiple sources. Experts in public health, virology, epidemiology, and other disciplines are vital for construing complex and fluctuating information. Leaders should make sure to listen to what they have to say.
4. Keep an Eye on the Big Picture
An experienced business leader will understand the importance of continually reframing their understanding of the latest goings-on. Most organizations, however, are not so flexible.
Many leaders tend not to implement their plans until they are absolutely sure of them. They also hesitate to change or redesign their plan to avoid coming across as misinformed, indecisive, under-confident, or cause confusion in the organization.
Maintaining a digital document that is considered a work-in-progress and can be modified according to the changing circumstances is essential to learn and adapt to the current situation.
5. Take Proactive Action
Sensitive and controversial matters are typically subject to review by various departmental heads and senior management, with each one providing their suggestions on how to best handle the particular situation. This can not only be a slow, cumbersome process but also lead to over-generalization in times when clarity and rapid action are needed.
It will help to put together a small team consisting of trusted members who have the authority to make rapid tactical decisions. Each day has been bringing new information to the fore, which makes it important for organizations to respond swiftly to it. As mentioned in the above point, a work-in-progress document that can be easily updated or withdrawn as necessary can come in handy here as well to minimize or completely eliminate the hassle of issuing multiple directives or approvals for action.
6. Prioritize Transition to Remote Work
Transitioning to remote work requires the utmost clarity, preparedness, and decisiveness from the senior management of an organization. With the COVID-19 situation changing frequently and becoming increasingly complex, over-deliberating the trade-offs and immediate costs mean putting lives in danger. It is, therefore, important for leaders to decide on the move and commit to it.
It makes perfect sense for organizations to invest in best-in-class remote work technology and IT systems that are secure, reliable, agile, and scalable. Organizations that do not have a dedicated IT department in place should immediately engage an experienced managed IT services provider, who can enable a quick and smooth transition to remote work for the entire business and keep the systems running.
Whether it is a service provider in Miami or an IT services company Genève, hiring one will require leaders to adopt organizational change management to reimagine the future of their organization, and the ways in which employees can work and collaborate. Leaders also need to unfailingly communicate the meaning and implications of the transition to employees through clear, crisp, and constant messaging.
7. Keep the Communication Flowing
Organizations will do well to implement technology upgrades to enable the constant flow of communication. With employees working remotely, it is necessary to enable constant and hindrance-free connectivity and communication. Phone calls and text messaging may slow down communications with all the home-related distractions.
It is a good idea for organization leaders to identify and use reliable project management and communication tools. Google Docs, for example, enables the creation of collaborative documents that all team members can access, read, edit, and comment on. Basecamp, Asana, and similar project management platforms for businesses to keep all parties involved on the same page. Platforms such as Freemind and Stormboard can be used for brainstorming and file-sharing.
The idea is to make remote work as smooth and efficient as working from an office, where all teams are in the know of the latest developments, so organizations can take quick, decisive, and collective action on pressing matters. Constant and consistent communication is key to ensuring operational stability, productivity, and effective remote work practices.
If you’re heading an organization, this is your chance to set an example for your teams by leading prudently and inspiring confidence. Effective guidance from leaders is much needed during times of uncertainty. No one can decisively predict how the current situation will unfold. Things may go back to the way they were in a matter of weeks, or we might be headed towards a global recession in a year’s time. Regardless of the circumstances, business leaders must put in place a robust strategy, which allows them to be adaptable and flexible to remain successful in their initiatives.