Enjoy this video transcript of this week’s Monday Moment episode.
Good morning and happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment.
Today’s focus is on leading through everything changing. Let’s face it. The last few weeks have been a phenomenal period of time to witness. Massive worldwide case studies on how we handle crises. Massive worldwide case studies on how we handle change, and even local, regional, national, and in your office sized case studies on how we deal when literally the entire routine we were familiar with got tossed up in the air, as if to create an entire giant game of Pick-Up Sticks. So how do you do it? How do you lead through times when everything is changing? Well there’s some great guidelines, tips, and right now you’re seeing a tremendous amount come out about virtual leadership or how to do remote learning, and how to bring on training for your office through remote sources. Speakers and trainers, who are all now highly caught up to speed on Zoom technology or Go to Meeting seem to be all helping. But there’s also a lot to be said for simply managing the speed of change and there’s a lot to be said for whether or not you’re adaptable and as resilient as you may have once thought you could ever have been. So, let’s look at that even more specifically. Whether changes seem enormous, like a City Lockdown or your nation’s locked down, and or your changes at this stage are feeling a little bit more simple, but intensified, because you’ve dealt with so many, let’s take a look together on how to lead through those when everything feels like it’s changing.
Shorten Your Planning Window
The first element to focus on is strengthening and shortening your planning window. If you’re making plans right now it’s hard to go much further out than 15 or 30 days at most. For a period of time, it was hard to go out much further than a day or a week. In our recent experience, strategic plans have gotten much shorter. Our basic knowledge about what we know and can count on, has gotten much more tenuous, or even blurry. So, shorten your planning window so that you have a greater sense of confidence, in these crazy changing times, about what you can actually manage, what you can count on, and what data is certain.
Stop Making Comparisons
The second way to go about leading when everything is changing is to stop making comparisons. Stop comparing now to the way it was. Stop comparing, such as here’s what we could do if we still had access to those things or here’s what we could have done. Think of the entire hospitality industry, restaurants, in particular, if they kept comparing here’s what we could do if customers were still allowed to come in and we weren’t faced with social distancing they would have not fared as well as those who were able to adapt and immediately pivot to carry out or curbside only. Stop making comparisons. If in your business and your industry, certain elements have changed forever it’s time now to look forward at what you can and accept this is the new status. Look at what you may very well miss, but is gone, and identify what now needs to be done to go forward. Once you’ve shortened your planning window, do everything you can to stop yourself from making comparisons and to lead those that are looking to you for guidance, that you have to sheer privilege of leading, to also stop making comparisons and to look for ways to now be productive.
Focus on Building
|When everything changes, let the bad stuff change with it. What habits do you want to maybe exchange and replace with efforts to start building new ones?|
Third, when you are leading and everything seems to change, focus on building. Many times, it’s very easy to freeze when everything seems to have been jerked out from under us and everything seems to be not the normal routine. This suggestion isn’t about finding a new way to go to work to stimulate Innovation. This is that you no longer have an office. For many, this is you no longer have gainful employment. Yet, even if you’re one of the ones who have been faced with the now daunting task of finding a new position, focus on what you can build on. What experience can you now list on a resume, or your LinkedIn profile? What crisis management skills did you develop? What relationships were you responsible for helping to flourish? What can you build on? What future do you want to start building? What habits do you want to maybe exchange and replace with efforts to start building new ones? What skills, what behaviors, what elements, in the way in which you react to things, do you want to build on and on which do you want to make improvements? All questions for internal introspection but also questions for those you have the privilege of leading. Your third most important element, when you’re leading in a time when everything feels like it’s changing, or has changed, is to focus on building that new future. You know, the one you will then be equipped to lead better in and toward.
Step 4 leading through changes, requires that you redefine priorities. Working with one client on their strategic plan, what we have rapidly discovered, about halfway through our own state going through its shelter in place order, was that the elements of focus on the Strategic plan were no longer even applicable, much less in the top 5 priorities. The key goal, the key aspiration of your team, your department, or your company, may no longer be viable. It may no longer be applicable and may no longer be relevant to your customers. There’s a culture shift happening in the midst of everything changing, and in your organization, it doesn’t always have to be a pandemic that creates massive changes. It could be that favorite boss of 20 years or that favorite CEO everyone loved, has retired and it feels like nothing’s the same and everything’s different. It could be that as a result of our recent events you’re now faced with five, six, or many less team members. Your whole process, who you go to, your reliable source, has changed. Or maybe you’re faced with hiring 15 new people when you really miss the old ones. Redefine your priorities. Take a look at now. What is top, 2nd and 3rd? Take a look at your short-term planning window. What kinds of goals are most important? What kinds of customer percentages? What kinds of loyalty? What kinds of levels of service are you now expecting from those you have the privilege of leading? How will you now treat those employees? Not only have we shifted our culture, we may have shifted expectations on what’s deemed to be good behavior in times of great change and for some, even greater difficulty or chaos.
Find Your Ambassadors
When everything seems to be changing or everything has changed, or is changing, your final step in this leadership capacity is to find your ambassadors. Find those who are early adopters. You know the ones that stand in line waiting for the brand-new iPhone or whatever technological innovation, but who are also the early adopters of any time something changes. They’re onboard. Right on your heels saying I’m on your six, or I’m ready to go. Find those ambassadors. Some people call them big mouths. Some people call them support staff, but whatever your label is, find the people that are on board with you. See your priorities. See the new vision you are ready to begin building and understand that what we know for sure is only what we know in the next 20 minutes. Well, or perhaps a slightly longer planning window, but find those ambassadors and rally them because they will help you in finding others to join your effort. Keep the energy up among all team members and they’ll help you in your ability to focus on leading amid chaos and mayhem instead of yourself feeling like a one-man band who’s really not doing much more than rearranging the chairs or silverware. If you’re not familiar with that reference look up intel on the Titanic and what they were doing when it appeared that ship was sinking.
You’re a leader with great skills and who has now, by this point, developed pretty tremendous resiliency. When everything is changing, you’ve got this! Engage in shortened planning. Redefine your priorities. Focus on building. Find your ambassadors and if you possibly can, stop comparing. I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and remember that yes, your leadership is still contagious.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a celebrated leader who develops future leaders. CEO of Contagious Companies, her firm delivers and designs leadership training for managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared, and the leaders who promoted them. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica and members of the Contagious team may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.