There are small stirrings in the Covid-19 lockdown.
There are small stirrings in the Covid-19 lockdown. The end is not in sight. It’s likely circumstances won’t change until the middle to end of next year. This is a medium-term disruption which will force changes but can make us more efficient. The driver for this will be imminent shrinkage in economies, fewer customers means we have to be super efficient. We won’t return to the world of December 2019. It is time for thinking our organizations better.
Motivating your team to change
People will assume their work will be similar to when they left it. It’s a natural reaction. They may expect some social distancing, but they want to see business as usual. Leaders and managers have to motivate their teams to think differently about what they are doing, about the way they do their work and particularly about how they communicate.
What work will you be doing?
How are your markets changing? In particular, how will your customers do their business with you. Now is the time to think yourself into the shoes of your ‘new’ customer.
1. Get your team together online. Ask them to write down the name of one of their customers? For each of these how will their circumstances have changed? How will they need to do business with you in the next phase of the pandemic? What new demands will this make on your processes? How will you adjust to these demands? What new service will you offer to meet their business needs?
How will you be providing your product or service through the next phase?
Here is our best opportunity to become more effective. We will probably have fewer people available to our teams. We will certainly have fewer people on site. Which means we need to find new ways to involve all our team in our processes and decision making. We have to stop doing the things that don’t count. It’s time to slim down our on-site operations and quickly put new ways of working into practice.
2. Be absolutely clear with your team that you are not going back to 2019 ways of working. Engage them in planning for a new way of working? They will be concerned, maybe fearful of change. Get everyone’s input into a new team working over and above just accounting for social distancing.
Better communication has to be the new normal
We wrote a blog before Covid-19 struck saying the most cited challenge faced in organizations was communication. If this was a problem before lockdown it is likely to be worse now. What can you do to accommodate people’s new communications needs? The issue of communication is usually not that people don’t get enough information from their managers, leaders and colleagues. Just count your emails, I’m sure you have sufficient. The issue is usually around how people feel they are communicated with.
A leadership team we worked with felt they had problems with communication. The marketing manager expressed these concerns very clearly in the project training meeting. When we explored further it was the lack of personal contact which was the problem. Everyone knew through the grapevine what was going on BUT they didn’t FEEL they were being communicated with.
3. How can you make people FEEL you are communicating with them when there is social distancing, remote working and less casual contact? Many team leaders, managers and business leaders’ resort to impersonal e mails when a phone call can create a relationship. An e mail is not as effective as a video call for making people FEEL included. How can you communicate more effectively?
Covid-19 has not created a new normal. It has created a work revolution.
As my colleague once said: ‘There is a road roller coming. Will you move fast or become part of the road?’