03 Apr COVID-19: Week 3 Insights
Friends, clients, partners, and fellow community leaders,
The business journey of working through COVID-19 continues. Despite the many challenges facing most organizations, we continue to be inspired from the efforts of our clients and other leaders in the community to innovate, to engage, to fall down, and to get back up. We are determined to support you through these unchartered waters, and remain steadfast in our message of encouragement…just do your best.
We feel privileged to connect with such a wide range of clients, industries, and partners, and trust that sharing our key learnings will prove useful as you make your own journey through this new and difficult reality. Here’s what we’ve taken from Week 3:
- Give more than you take. Even in normal circumstances, we are often hyper-focused on what we need. The next sale, an invoice that needs to be paid, or just a quick favour. A good question to ask is, “when was the last time my client heard from me when I didn’t need something from them?” In light of all that is happening, it is even more likely that we focus inward and ask those around us for the things we need. By all means, reach out and ask for help, but also make sure you are looking for ways to give back. Is there someone you can thank, a referral you can make, or a relevant article you can share. Find creative ways to be there for those in your network, and particularly for those from whom you often receive. In times of crisis, organizations that resist the urge to only focus on what they need to survive will build trust with their stakeholders and a reputation for adding value.
- Be flexible in what you are taking to market. Despite a desire to try and maintain business as usual, the reality is anything but. Now is the time to be flexible in how you provide your products or services. Is there a scaled back version of your core offering that clients can access to still get some value now while conserving their cash for a larger spend post COVID-19? Can projects be broken into phases with clients only needing to commit to one phase at a time to minimize their overall risk? Can you adjust your payment terms, either offering discounts for clients paying a larger portion up front or providing a longer payment schedule? Are there opportunities to partner with those in your supply chain to reduce the overall cost to the end user?
- Overcommunicate, especially to your team. The current reality creates confusion, uncertainty, and fear for many, particularly front line staff. Most will create a negative narrative to fill the vacuum created by a lack of information. Even if the coming weeks will involve needing to layoff members of your team, you are best served by providing them with proactive, honest, and regular updates about what is happening and what to expect. Transparent communication will help them feel connected and respected, and will build trust with those who remain. While it may be hard to envision it today, there will be a time when your organization is hiring again and you want your people to be a source of positive referrals in their networks. In this market, weekly updates are needed, video conferencing tools can help deliver a face-to-face connection, and we encourage you to ensure your entire leadership team is aligned and able to speak to their teams with a cohesive voice.
- This is hard. Be gracious, especially with yourself. The past month has turned the world upside down for many, both professionally and personally. The current market conditions present a significant challenge for most organizations, and acknowledging that it is hard is important. We have been inspired by many who are showing incredible grace to those around them. A crisis tends to bring out the best in people, and we see many being patient, forgiving, and kind with those around them. Yet, those same brave souls are also equally likely to hold themselves to impossibly high standards. Aim high, yes. Dig in, most certainly. But, please remember to be equally gracious with yourself.
In case you missed them, our insights from Week 1 and Week 2 can be found here:
We remain at full operation, serving clients from a remote working environment and following directions from Alberta Health Services (https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx). We encourage all individuals and businesses to comply with their recommendations.
We will continue to provide updates as we work through the realities of COVID-19. If you have any specific ideas, resources, or questions for future updates, please share them with us. We are here to help, so please reach out if you want to brainstorm or discuss ways your organization can adjust to this new reality.
On behalf of the entire Incite team, stay positive, healthy, focused, and just do your best.