The antidote to uncertainty
It’s everywhere…and for good reason. Uncertainty.
What will the future be like? How will it impact our business/our team/our customers/me? What do I need to do to be ready for it? What do I need to do today?
When we don’t have certainty we create it for ourselves. Some of us take the vaccine so that if there are enough of us, we are part of the solution and will get out of this faster. Some of us work even harder because it keeps our minds and energies focused. Some of us wait until there is certainty again…whenever that might be.
Organisations aren’t immune from this either. When there is so much uncertainty and disruption, planning becomes even harder. Where will our revenue come from now? How do we keep our teams motivated and connected when we need to reduce their hours and encourage them to take even more annual leave? What does selling even look like right now? What should it look like? What needs to happen today so there is a tomorrow? What if we get it wrong?
It’s very very tough. The lockdowns and case numbers continue to be the blight of businesses and after such a prolonged timeframe, it’s now really hurting. Cash reserves have been used. Budgets are being redirected to revenue generating activities, and roles realigned to those divisions of the business too. It’s all hands on deck.
So, what can we do to really support our customers, our sales teams and the wider business today? What will provide some practical support that will hold the business in good stead so it will be able to live to fight another day AND be fit for the fight?
From my observations and conversations, I recommend organisations do the following as an antidote to uncertainty:
ONE: Redirect as many roles as possible to sales and customer service functions
TWO: Be outward facing and inwardly embracing
THREE: Survival is the key: live to fight another day
Redirect as many roles as possible to sales and customer service functions.
Why? Because that is what will drive survival. Revenue matters, and it comes from our customers. You may need to bring the organisation together (virtually if need be) and explain that if they’re to survive, we need to strengthen our connections with our ecosystems. Align roles with those they can reach out to, like warehouse/logistics with suppliers and transport companies. Align sales teams with customers and prospects. Align marketing with contractors they utilise. Give them a focus for the first, second and third calls to the lists you allocate to each of them.
Call #1: The purpose in the first instance is literally a welfare check: how are they doing? What is their world like? Where are their greatest challenges? What do they need to take care of in the next 30/60/90 days? What will help them the most?
Call #2: What can we do to help them the most? What can we do that will make life easier for them?
Call #3: Solution outline based on the first 2 calls.
Be outward facing and inwardly embracing
Bunkering down while natural in the end results in isolation. What’s a more resourceful behaviour for these times is to have an intention to be of service to others – especially during times of trial for ourselves. It gets us out of our heads, it gets us out of our own way and puts things into perspective. It expands our levels of connection with others which contributes to the well-being of those we reach out to as well as to ourselves. When the whole organisation spends time reaching out to prospects, customers, suppliers and contractors we elevate our energy and we must also turn this inwards to our colleagues so that we foster greater levels of relatedness with those we have an interdependence on for a collective survival.
Bring key people across the organisation together to identify who in your company’s ecosystem can provide support to your teams? To your leaders? What can you give to them in exchange? This is about our collective survival.
Who can we connect to others in a way that supports them to tackle their biggest hurdles with practical solutions and necessary outcomes? If what they need is outside of our remit, we can still be part of the solution.
Survival is the key
Make this our mission. It’s unifying. It crystalises our focus. Living to fight another day is what matters here. Questions to ask of the business:
How can we organise our teams now to reduce the financial impact on the business today and keep as many people employed as possible?
How can we redeploy our teams towards activity that generates income for the business either directly or indirectly?
What support does the team need right now?
How can we exchange support and services with others in our ecosystem in ways that deepens and strengthens our relationships?
What do we need to let go of today that will not support us to generate revenue or maximise productivity that we can pick up again when things improve?
How can we work creatively with suppliers and customers to deliver support in ways that benefit both of us?
We need one another. Period. Let’s act like that.