Back in January-February 2020, businesses were cruising along, most with updated strategic plans for the new year, excited to move forward. Then with a blink of an eye, we fell into the shock of a lifetime causing wide-spread disruption. The Anxious Era began. This last year has been an exercise in change management. So how are you doing?
First, a point of clarification. Most people, especially entrepreneurial-thinking people, don’t hate change. In fact, they accept the fact that change comes to every business. Some even embrace it! What they DON’T like is the speed at which change comes. And the pandemic plus recession hit us all like a tsunami.
An LOL memory from March was when we all put “the pandemic” on our issues list as one issue to solve. Are you kidding? That was just the trigger that opened Pandora’s box of multi-level issues from virus to health, safety, government oversight and regulations, remote work, closing down, changing up product offerings, restarts, employee struggles, loss of incomes to recoveries (now you can take a breath!)
That is why this period in our lives will go down as the Anxious Era. We have had to react quickly and make decisions without the necessary information or support. In other words, we’ve been forced to change rather than innovatively brainstorming around “maybe” changing.
Be aware of anxious behavior
Here are some business behaviors we’ve observed this past year that point to the waves of anxiety flowing through companies. Awareness helps leadership teams prepare for the future including continued efforts toward mitigating anxious tendencies.
Any number of these fatigues combined can lead to that feeling of burnout. These are issues that should not be ignored. Your teams, when invited by leadership, can have open and honest conversations, share their perspectives and offer up ways to combat what they are experiencing.
Zoom fatigue - Zoomed to death with little to nothing getting done in these types of meetings
Covid-butt – sitting on our duffs all day with little excuse to get active and then feeling so fatigued our muscles hurt
Isolation fatigue – increased alone time, less social opportunities… missing our peers
Work from Home fatigue – the pressures of family co-mingled with career, not having a consistent focus to get the work done
Caution fatigue – keeping your distance… always on the look out
Moral fatigue – making decisions that impact others due to changes and worrying about it constantly
Virtual learning fatigue – learning new skills and new methods online while not able to experience in real time… makes us really excited to learn!
Have you noticed the change in tone and messaging found on LinkedIn, Facebook, and emails? It reminds me of the past when I would get repeated advertising flyers and postcards in the mail with desperate pleas to “buy me, buy me, buy me” for services, or a message that blatantly stated, “You really need this product”.
What has happened to our marketing? Were we forced to drop our marketing strategy or did we simply opt out? Have you gone back to the table to discuss, collaborate and identify what exactly is working and what isn’t? At The Resultants, we regroup around marketing strategy every 90 days with updates and actions identified weekly. It is never far from our daily awareness.
The blame game
Many of us, including me (the anxiety princess), automatically wants to blame something or someone other than ourselves. It’s a natural reaction, especially when fear of losing something precious takes hold (and there is nothing more precious than our own companies).
Being aware of our blame reaction helps us to stop and pause. Patience, which is a leadership skill that is in high demand, draws out a different perspective. Slow down, take a deep breath and ask, “Why is this person to blame?” “Why am I blaming this thing?”
Go back to uncovering the root cause. Blaming is not a root cause. One of the most constructive lessons I’ve learned through the years of crisis management, is to talk with others first, using them as a sounding board to see if blame is justified.
This tsunami has forced us to transform the way we do business, the way we work with our employees, the way we relate to customers and vendors, and most importantly, forced to transform ourselves. Whenever we make such drastic changes, we end up taking on risks that at any other time, we probably would not have chosen.
Change is risky. For some of us, risk causes our anxieties to double and triple. For others, like visionaries, risk is exciting… it’s a chance to try something different. At the Resultants, we’ve taken risk and reacted counter-intuitively to our strategies. We’ve slowed down and re-focused our efforts… not so much to grow further, faster for the sake of growth, but to help in any way we can to assist our clients in dealing with their particular crises and anxiousness. We’ve made a point to slow down in order to minimize the disruptive forces and maximize support through consistent and more frequent issue solving sessions, contingency discussions, “what if” scenarios and reverse accountability charting for workforce regroups.
The Anxious Era is not going away simply because we’ve moved into 2021. How we deal with workplace anxieties is part of our strategy toward future success. For small businesses, we get scrappy. We take risk, avoid blaming others and slow down to uncover the root cause. Most importantly, we keep our strategies front and center so we can change quickly.
Will Your Vision Take You to the Next Level?
Every business faces a crossroads at some point. Owners and leaders look to the future and may know exactly where they want to be but they don’t always know how they’re going to get there. To make things more difficult, most employees don’t have a clear sight line to their company’s vision.
So, how do you go from a blurry, ineffective vision to one that unifies and ignites your team?
Join Business Advisor, Brian Alwin, as he shares what differentiates a strong company vision from a weak one and outlines specific actions you can take as a leader to help create a compelling company vision and move your business further, faster.
Tuesday, March 9th | 7:30 - 9:00 am | Online Event | Register Here