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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.

Clearly a little more festive orientation we have today because who couldn’t use a little more festive these days? But, good news is coming. Also, good changes and an additional transition is coming, as likely in your state, you’re reaching a point about a transition plan to reopen our country. So, here’s the question for today’s Monday Moment: How do you reopen the team exactly? Perhaps that focus could come from some additional planning, structure and efforts, as well as the use of an analogy we’re all hearing on the news every evening. You’ve likely heard these terms: gating, phases, and criteria, and how rolling out a phased approach to reopen your city, or your state, or frankly, the nation is part of the approach. It started to occur to me that these same terms, the phased approach and the gating criteria, could apply to some specific areas in leadership. When you are planning how to reopen the team of people you have the privilege of leading. So let’s take a look at three specific areas in which this same sort of approach might be applicable and make use of your current downtime, as well as give you some structure, a sense of confidence and control, and some clarity.


The first area in which this approach is applicable is in hiring. Now, some industries are hiring right now. You’ve seen ads for Domino’s Pizza, for example. You’ve seen ads for your local grocery store. You’ve likely even seen ads for delivery services. Perhaps you’re also in a position to hire new people. If so, now’s the time to look at what are the key criteria for ideal job candidates. Now you’ve likely gotten that all covered from prior hiring efforts but take a fresh approach in this new environment and re-examine those criteria. Also, consider looking at the phased approach or gating, so to speak, of your hiring process. What are the gates through which a candidate must proceed, and what criteria must they meet for each gate, in order to transition to the next phase of either an interview process or employment? For example, when someone initially sees a job posting on Indeed® or LinkedIn®, or simply word of mouth in your area, what are the criteria they need to have in order to be an ideal candidate, to get through even the initial screening process? Secondly, is the first phase the one in which they submitted an application? That would be logical. In the second phase they have a phone screening. In the third phase, there are two supervisors or managers who reach out to them to have a more personal one-on-one, or targeted behavioral interview, conversation. And the last phase incorporates talking with you, the inimitable Grand Poobah leader.

Now, this is just one example of how to gate and phase your hiring process. If you’re not in a position of hiring new people, perhaps you’re just looking at bringing everyone back that was previously, either temporarily laid off, had positions that were temporarily eliminated, or have been furloughed as part of the entire workforce. First and foremost, if at all possible, if you’ve been able to utilize a PPP loan or you simply had reserves or some other stream of revenue, bring all those people back, except the ones that have chosen perhaps at this time in their life, to take this as a cue to move on to the next chapter. If at all possible, bring everyone back and then, once the dust settles and things feel a little more solid and stable in the new transitional process, examine how you will hire and add new people to the team through such a structure that includes the gated criteria of what must they meet or do before they move to the next phase.


The second area in which this analogy may apply (and add confidence and structure since we’ve all gone about two months without knowing what day it was, so structure would be welcome) would be in promotions. Like hiring, you may now have an opportunity to create a whole new division or add on people to provide a service that previously was not part of your business model. Or you may simply need, because of the domino effect of people leaving, committing to early retirement programs, or simply having found other jobs in the process, to fill a number of vacancies. What are the key criteria for you to promote someone? What is the gate through which they must first pass in order to be eligible for that promotion or to go to the next step of your promotion process? And then once in that process, once they’ve been promoted, what’s the next criteria for them to reach the next level? Now, if you have an entire workforce with which you have previously shared, “here’s your basic unwritten rule criteria about how to get promoted”, now would be a good time, once the dust settles and people come back, to establish clarity, specificity and order for each promotion. It needs to be specifically stated that these are the criteria one must meet, these are the gates through which one must pass, and these are the phases we will use to ensure you are appropriately onboarded into that next position. Keep in mind, as the owner of Contagious Companies, where our focus is on managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared, we see a lot of…let’s just call it lack of clarity, in the area of promotion and who gets promoted and when and for what reasons.


The third area where this analogy may be applicable is in training. What are the phases of training that you provide employees and that team you have the privilege of leading as you’re starting to reopen the team in these phases and lower percentages of capacity? You now have a unique opportunity to make a fresh start, somewhat like we do in every January. However, now it’s in May, June and July in which this time period of a fresh start and where we’re discussing planning, will occur. But act like it’s January. Take a fresh stab at it. Take a fresh look. And particularly, in the area of training. You may an ongoing onboarding training process and a new hire orientation process. You may have some level of management or leadership development training. If not, we can certainly help you in that area. But, when you’re looking at your offerings, ask yourself are they clear, structured, and phased? Also, remember, we’re talking about people, who are inherently complex. You can’t always fit the entire training process on an Excel spreadsheet where everyone will fit in an appropriate cell or box or category, but in large part, you can structure your training to include this same sort of gating criteria and phases. There are phases through which one must pass in order to receive a promotion relevant to training. You have to have taken this class or this webinar. You must have worked with the executive coach on payroll, or on consulting status, for a minimum of three hours in order to complete that particular phase and move on to the next phase.

When your focus is on leadership twenty-four seven, you tend to pick up analogies and examples and see leadership application in, well, almost everything. So, as I’m watching the news nightly and as I’m seeing the progression and transition to reopening businesses in our media, I started to think about how this would apply to you and those teams and divisions and departments you have the privilege of leading. For the leader who’s currently thinking, what are we going to do going forward, our hope is you’ve survived this process and will now have a sense of perhaps even renewed enthusiasm. Our hope is your resiliency has tripled, your perseverance is now like none other ever experienced, and you’re about ready to take some action, build some structure, and make some progress in the area or reopening.

We’ve still got time for 2020 to be your best year ever and yet, those cycles of ups and downs and knowing what to do and having no clue are very normal. So, as you start to reopen the company, reopen the team, and re open your doors to interacting with other humans, recognize that providing clarity and stability will dramatically help those in your workforce to reengage quickly. With specificity and a bit of planning, you’ll make a faster, smoother transition. This approach will also help many of your customers understand how now to do business with you even more rapidly and will help you as a leader to gain greater confidence in this era and realm of pretty consistent uncertainty. You’ve got this and I look forward to hearing great things. I’m Monica Wofford, and that’s your Monday Moment. I look forward to seeing you soon and in the meantime, have a great week, a great new grand opening, and remember, even though contagious has been associated with not so pleasant things the last couple of months, your leadership is still contagious! Your courage, your resilience, and your diligence are still contagious, too. Join us on the next Monday Moment by going to MondayMoment.com. “See” you soon.

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.

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