How will you lead your team through an ever-changing personal and economic storm yet still maintain your business’s success? Should you stand on the sidelines, or empower your team to drive your business to a more prosperous future?
1. Let’s take a look at the history of our nation, by doing so, you will see cycles emerge!
In 1918 when the Spanish Flu threatened the United States, the Government shut down businesses, schools, and public gatherings (does this sound familiar?). When The Great Depression devastated our economy, it seemed as though we would never be able to recover. Spirits were low, work was scarce, and it appeared too bleak to anticipate that economic conditions would ever improve.
Moving to a more recent event in history — September 11, 2001, our nation held its breath as we were under attack. The devastation shook Americans to our core; nervous about leaving the house and unsure of what would come next, the real dilemma was learning to go about everyday life; thereby, trying to figure out how to move forward. No one really understood how to react in a similarly unprecedented time.
Each one of these times in history defined not only the struggle we faced but the resilience of our people. Throughout American history, we’ve faced hardships that devastated our nation, and each time we have risen to the occasion and prevailed. What can we take away from this small lesson in history? If we remain vigilant at achieving our goals, learn from our failures while maintaining flexibility, as we adjust to accommodate an ever-changing economy, we have the potential to experience massive success.
2. The Right Time to Rally the Troops!
Now more than ever, it would be of great benefit to show the appreciation you have for the strong team you have on your payroll! Utilize them and keep them motivated. It’s crucial to not only be transparent with your team but stand up and lead them to victory. You may be wondering how you might go about this?
Some would suggest using history as a measure to show efforts to rally support! Take the Spanish Flue of 1918— not only did the United States Government shut down all group gatherings, but the NY Health Commissioner also staggered essential business operating hours, thereby limiting the potential spread of the virus and working to gain the support of the people by showing strong leadership while making tough decisions (Spanish Flu, 2020).
Additionally, during The Great Depression, FDR addressed citizens in “Fireside Chats” to help calm fears. The organization of the New Deal initiated work programs, Social Security, and the proposal to end Prohibition designed to quell fears and to build a sense that solutions were being implemented, not just for now but in the future (New Deal, 2020).
We can agree that there is much ambiguity revolving around the virus and the economic instability that we face currently; however, there is one constant that we can count on, which is that nothing lasts forever. History shows us that there are great economic improvements that take place after most significant health and financial crises. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different than similar events in history— where there is a dip in the economy; there is surely an economic boom to follow.
3. Don’t Stand Still
It’s time to keep your team motivated by creating an achievable plan. As stated before, each moment in history has defined how we as people have responded to a national tragedy— this pandemic is likely to follow the same trend. As businesses, we can readjust our marketing, sales, and budget to accommodate an ever-changing economic climate. This is the time that defines our character and company culture— don’t react out of fear, but instead gather your executive team or other trusted advisors, to create an achievable plan that will lead your business to success.
Review your revenue and cost analysis to see where you can cut or adjust unnecessary spending. Understand that changes regarding the COVID-19 outbreak are occurring every day; therefore, adjustments to the business’s budget will be a moving target— don’t be discouraged, as this is to be expected.
4. Act Now
Once you’ve evaluated the business and determined a recovery plan; you will need to put your plan into action. Convey the strategy concisely to all employees, thus ensuring that all departments understand the part they will play during this time. Remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all plan that will lead your business to success. Be brave and be open to new ideas, evaluate their potential success, and if it makes sense for your business, then try them out.
Allow your business to evolve and be open to new and innovative ideas. Who knows, the simplest new idea could lead your business to success! Put everything on the table and consider every idea, regardless of it seeming too small or too large.
There is no clear and determined way to rebuild a successful business. Understanding history, garnering support, development of an action plan and putting that plan into play can help prevent stress paralysis that has the potential to debilitate a business. Don’t give up on learning from the past, what has worked, and new ways of driving your business forward are essentials to great business success.
Spanish Flu. (2020). History.com. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic
New Deal (2020). History.com. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/new-deal