Guest Blogger: Elvis Filote
I am neither an expert on crisis management nor have any exceptional solution for settling
Covid-19, so don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with any personal opinion about causes, effects and predictions about what's to come. I feel the insecurity in the conversations I have with friends, clients, employees or entrepreneurs.
Alissa, my daughter, asked me the other day: "How long will the situation take and when can we go back to school?"
I read in her eyes stress and restlessness. We watch the news with interest and look forward to the announcement of a solution, a vaccine, a strategy, a miracle.
I started my week deleting from my calendar trainings, workshops, events I had scheduled. I feel regret and bitterness as I canceled all the events in March and April scheduled around two US speakers who canceled their visit.
It's daunting, not to say paralyzing, to focus my attention on things I have no influence in.
I chose instead to do something else: to channel all my energy and effort on what I can control. Reconfigure trainings, workshops, small groups and coaching meetings.
We called some of our clients trying to understand how they are affected and what they anticipate. We are discussing with our team trying to identify what are the opportunities hiding behind this crisis.
What if, in turn, you managed to find some opportunities you haven't seen before?
It is an unprecedented global situation where the difference will be made by focusing on what we can control (not panic over possible scenarios) and the ability to adapt to the present reality (not criticize or implement exaggerated measures out of the fear of apocalyptic scenarios).
There are two elements that prevent leaders from seeing opportunities: SUCCESS and FEAR. Bosting in the present results, the arrogance that nothing could stop us, ignorance of potential danger – the Present success, that’s what prevented leaders of successful companies like Nokia, Xerox, Kodak from seeing what could lead them to success in the future. They did not see opportunities that stood right in front of them that could lead them to greater results.
On the other hand, fear and panic paralyzed people who found themselves isolated or facing extreme survival situations. They were not able to see solutions that would have saved their lives. Fear is what makes us act irrationally, sets our brains to act instinctively, drives us in a Fight or Flight mode.
When fear paralyzed leaders, they stopped leading, focused all their attention on their personal needs and sacrificed people, values and principles.
I encourage you not to act out of Ignorance nor Fear but, with much discernment and vision, identify the opportunities that could provide a solution that is suitable for you, for your team and the success of your organization.
I encourage you to get your team together in an online meeting (use zoom, skype or something else) and challenge them to an effective brainstorming followed by selecting action steps:
1. The first opportunity I encourage you to explore is to define exactly with your team what you can control. Answer the following question:
• Of all the things that worry us, what can we control, what is in our power and ability to influence or change?
2. The second step is to identify the degree to which your processes, products or services will be affected by the effects of the crisis. Answer with the team the following questions:
• What are the products or services our customers need despite the crisis?
• What are the products or services that are directly affected by the crisis? Under what conditions could it still bring value to our customers and how can we get there?
• What are the products or services where we no longer need to invest money or effort in until the crisis is resolved and settled?
3. The third step is to explore opportunities you still don't see. I encourage you to challenge your entire team to call the top 10% of your customers before this stage - those who bring you most of your income. Call them and ask them the questions below and write down their answers. Sincerely encourage your customers and honestly express your concern for their wellbeing.
Encourage your team to explore outside the box its important here not to allow negativity or pessimism to take over. Only after you feel like you've exhausted all possible ideas force yourselves to bring 4-5 more possible ideas. Answer the following questions:
• What do our clients need now? What are they missing and what is stopping them from accessing our products and services? How can we help them?
• What products or services do we identify and what would we need to be able to offer them to our customers.
• What prevents us from implementing the solutions we see necessary and critical? What do we need and how can we fix them ASAP?
• What would be the best thing and the worst thing that can happen to us and how can we prepare for it?
• What are our priorities for the next 3-4 weeks? (review and adapt them weekly to current reality)
Focus your attention and team on what you can control, identifying solutions to current challenges and make the most of new opportunities. During the hardest times in history, people who did not just see themselves victims of their circumstances or let themselves be paralyzed by fear, we're able to prevail and we keep being inspired by their stories.
Become the hero of generations to come and don’t succumb to fear or ignorance.
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