Leading during this time can be very discouraging when projects can take longer to complete, and team members are juggling their personal and professional lives daily. Zoom calls can also become exhausting as many leaders wish there could actually be more face-to-face connections. Collaboration may even seem to be waning as many of us try to stay on top on each person’s role or assignment. When we get into these “funks” and have a difficult time seeing beyond our immediate home windows or desks, we need to pull ourselves up, dust ourselves off and pivot.
This past week I have been attending several zoom webinars and listening to some powerful podcasts that always transform my spirits. One podcast in particular that I love is Patrick Lencioni’s “At The Table”. Not only is it entertaining, bringing great laughter to my somewhat overworked mind, but there is so much to learn about running our teams during this time.
Here are five ways to turn lemons into lemonade during the pandemic:
1. Swap Out Challenges For Opportunities
Everything I read and every leader I listen to, has the same critical message about navigating through this time: Stop looking at all the obstacles as roadblocks and try to see them as creative opportunities. Begin by thinking of ways to work around and even elevate your business or job responsibilities to meet our new work world. After all, it is a new day with all new rules and all new ideas.
- Cultivate relationships during zoom calls. Don’t make them just about business and tasks to be completed.
- Try out new collaboration tools for the team.
- Keep an ongoing list of what lessons were learned and new ideas implemented.
- Decide on what the team or you will continue even after the pandemic.T
2. Get Clear On Your Plan Forward
This is the perfect time to redesign your team or organization direction forward. Knowing our purpose and why we want to move down a certain road is important to clarify with all the uncertainty around us. Write out a marketing plan that probably will look different from what you envisioned in January. Include all the new strategies you and your team have learned together during these past months. Embrace a new vision and make sure the entire team and organization understand it. Don’t forget to ask and include team member’s input into where you are headed.
3. Bring In The Trusted Advisors
Strong leadership involves reaching out and asking others for their perspectives and help. During a time like this, it is incumbent on leaders to not act or make decisions by themselves. Draw on the wisdom of experts and those you trust.
- Set up a call with counterparts in other areas of your organization.
- Invite past bosses to a virtual coffee to brainstorm.
- Send an email to a client who you have helped and you know can help with their business acumen.
- Make sure to say “Thank you” and let people know you are available to help them too.
4. Take Manageable Steps
It can seem overwhelming for leaders to make big transitions at this time to different business models. So instead of committing to huge pivots, begin with smaller steps. One organization I am working with wants to focus on building deeper relationships. We decided to begin by initially contacting all the stakeholders with a call to just say hello and tell them we are here for them. Relationships are not built overnight. They take time and patience.
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
If leaders have learned nothing else during the pandemic, it is that they cannot share their messages enough. When there are critical thoughts to express, we need to state them several times in many different places for our teams and organizations to hear them.
- Choose at least 3 places or times to share the same message.
- Make sure the words are crystal clear.
- Use images and visuals to complement your message.
- Don’t forget to include videos in your communication strategy.
What other steps have you taken to turn lemons into lemonade at this difficult time?