Lead by Design: Business Mindset During the Pandemic

by | Apr 28, 2020

nicoa dunne
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Interview with Morgan Goettge. Watch it here.

Leading a team is already challenging enough, but it’s become even more so now than ever, with stress high during the pandemic. I recently sat down for an interview with Morgan Goettge, Founder of Raleigh Media Co., to talk about what leaders can do to strengthen and inspire their teams during challenging times. Here are some of the best practices I shared that will help you instill hope and confidence in your team, and in yourself, during and after the pandemic. 

[Learn how to manage upward here]

Acknowledge & Accept

Get your bearings. Acknowledge what is actually happening here—this virus pushed the pause button on the global economy, and you are being impacted. Accepting where you are is key to reducing stress and suffering—focusing on the now by reviewing the facts, making sure you know exactly what hand you’ve been dealt. Know your facts. This is happening. 

If you have a current set of employees and clients, know exactly who they are, where they are on their lifecycle with you, and assure them that you’re there to partner with them through this challenging time. Helping them acknowledge the state of things with your support will keep everyone from running for the hills at the first hint of fear. Own your situation, own your business, own your own career. No one is going to save you. It’s time to lead intentionally. 

This is your experience to navigate, so own it!

Allow & Ask 

Allow your emotional state of mind. This is definitely emotional for everyone. Your emotions are just energy—e-motion, energy in motion—reminding you what matters most for yourself, your business, your family, and your community. Of course you’ll feel emotional. Allow it to happen, but don’t get stuck there. It’s not that you go there—it’s how long you stay!

[Watch the interview here]

Ask for someone to listen: a close confidante, a partner, spouse, counselor, or coach. Leverage your support group, ask for validation, and ask for advice. Your ability to maneuver and navigate this with others will bring on greater success than trying to deal with this all by yourself. You are not alone! 

Adopt & Adapt

Things are not normal, as you are well aware. Adopt a curiosity mindset. Keep noticing what is possible with other businesses and other colleagues in your field.  If everything has come to a screeching halt, it’s time to adapt without question. So many individual business owners/service providers are taking their skills and moving from real-time, hands-on services to virtual offerings that are still serving their customers, both old and new! Pay attention to what is happening around you and see if there’s anything you want to adopt.

The adaptation to the new situation requires education. You can’t just sit there; do something. Listen. Observe. Spend less time looking at the news and more time observing examples of other business or colleague pivots. You can pivot, too. You can adopt best practices and adapt them to your own circumstances. Go for it now, don’t wait! 

Avoid & Act

Avoid negativity when showing up at work, with clients, with employees, with your family—at all costs. Suspend disbelief that this isn’t going to work. It doesn’t have to be black or white—there is a grey area that should be considered. Of course, if the facts force your hand, you’ll have to fold. But until then, sit in optimism, hope, positivity, and faith, and act on those intuitive thoughts to play the hand as best you are able to stay in the game. And whatever you do, don’t lie to employees or clients, but do address the current situation with an air of optimism. Even in the face of adversity, you can see the silver lining, and that is your job as the business owner. The story you live in now as a business leader will be part of the legacy you leave behind.

[Watch the interview here]

Spend time alone doing something different: walking, exercising, being creative, boating, fishing, arts and crafts, etc. Get your creative juices flowing. Getting yourself into a mindset that opens you to new ideas and de-stresses your body is a strategic leadership practice and helps you make better decisions for how to act in this situation. Notice if you are in one of the following spaces: have to, need to, want to, or choose to. The power is in choice. If you keep asking yourself, “Do I have a choice? Am I at choice?” It becomes much easier to move forward with wise, calm leadership when you realize you have the power of choosing how you respond and take action. Be the calm captain in this sea of uncertainty.

Exercise: SOULful Living Is Mindful Living: An easy exercise that only takes a few seconds to apply often throughout your day. Especially when you are trying to get to a space of CHOICE:

STOP: Be mindful of your interactions. Relax. Take a deep breath. Be in the moment fully.

OBSERVE: What role are you in? Where are you? What hat are you wearing at this moment?

UNDERSTAND: What matters most to you in this role and this situation? What values do you want to apply here?

LIVE/LEAD/LISTEN/LOVE/LAUGH: Live the legacy you want to leave behind by aligning your behaviors to those values. Be at choice. 

What Can Business Owners Do to Stay Productive During Quarantine? 

Don’t forget to leverage your employees and peers to stay productive if the situation presents itself. Ask them for ideas. Remember, you aren’t alone! What have you put off? Process improvement ideas and marketing campaigns may be areas you’ve been putting off that need revamping. Perhaps there are some self help activities or courses you, or your employees, have been meaning to take? Maybe you need to update your website and content or need to refresh your resume. Now’s the time to get it done! 

Additionally, now may be a great time to find ways to give back if your business isn’t suffering too badly and you have the resources to donate time, energy, or services. Staying present and supportive in your community as a company, and as an individual, is one of the most inexpensive and effective marketing tools to use during a time like this!

And you know what? You can always strategically choose to simply take a break. Maybe just maintaining is productive enough during this experience! And that’s okay, too! Learning how to just BE may be the most challenging project you’ll ever encounter in your career or business and mastering that could be the secret business mindset you’ve been seeking.

In Summary

Lead by design. Of course this is nerve-wracking, naturally, but recognize you are not alone. This too shall pass. This is your business. You decide what story you’re going to tell. Whatever you choose to do, or choose not to do, it is the right choice because it is yours. Own it. I always believe the universe is conspiring on our behalf, so have faith, trust, and act in alignment with your values as you always have. You can, you will, you ARE going to move through this and redesign your situation for the better. This is simply preparing you for your purpose and further impact on the world.

[Watch the interview here]