In this article, Eileen McDargh gives five tips for holding business and yourself together.
Anyone in the audience when I have given my presentation “Radical Resilience” knows that I believe action is the antidote for anxiety. Sitting and stewing, muttering and watching storm clouds, or pacing back and forth does nothing. When we begin to take control over even the smallest part of our life, we begin to gain a sense of forward momentum.
Consider these five tips—any of which can be started in small steps and increased as time and talent permit.
(1) Pitch out what doesn’t add value. Lean is NOT mean. Start with a file drawer, a computer folder, a closet, and yes—even your contact list. Everything that we hold on to that is obsolete, not useful, or out- dated takes up physical and emotional space. To let in the new, we’ve got the clear out the old. You might find—as I did—that cleaning up a database brings “old” clients to mind. We had lost touch. I reconnected and have now renewed friendships and/or a client relationship. You might find great ideas that were not useful then but are very timely now. At the very least—the action of tossing away just lightens the load.
(2) Spend wisely. Think of everything in terms of “what will this do for my customer.” Circuit City fired all their seasoned, knowledgeable employees because they were more expensive than new employees. Too bad. Without trained staff to help customers, Circuit City was now just a store with stuff. Ordinary. Common. And now out of business.
(3) Follow your values and offer value for what you give. If an action goes against what you value, in the long run, the price you pay will be far too high. I am not right for every client. Accepting work for the money rather than for the match will hurt both of us.
(4) Talk to your team and your customers. Better still: LISTEN. This is not the same as e-mail. Pick up the phone. Better still, meet face-to-face. Rally troops real time. We don’t feel the human support from a screen or a text message. Ideas can come from anywhere and anyone.
(5) Sullyize your workers. OK—I made up this word but perhaps it will catch on. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was a masterful pilot who trained, trained, and trained again. You don’t make that kind of landing in a two-minute timeframe without having practiced and trained. Yet—what do too many organizations do in these times? Cut training!! If you want employees to handle crises, you’ve got to train rigorously. Think customer service skills, leadership skills, clear communication skills. Responses can be second nature if training is diligent.
In Tough Times, Silence is NOT Golden
In the face of this severe, take-no-prisoners economic downturn, far too many organizations are responding in knee-jerk reaction to the thought of holding all but the smallest of meetings. Training budgets are slashed. Employees hunker behind their desk hoping that no one from HR can find them – or else they’re huddled around a PDA, text messaging about possible layoff scenarios, pending mergers, or hiring freezes. Performance? Productivity? I think not.
Now more than ever, managers at all levels of an organization need to do that which separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom: TALK!
(1) In the absence of information, we connect the dots in the most pathological way possible.
(2) E-mail works fine for data but when emotions are involved, only face-to-face really carries the day.
(3) There’s a huge benefit when people gather to share ideas, brainstorm new procedures, learn more about team members, have questions answered, or explore ways to streamline work loads.
(4) Smart companies will use this downtime to cross train, to coach for performance and career development, and involve employees in corporate decisions.
(5) Diverse perspectives are critical for innovation, and these are best gleaned through conversation. Bottom Line: The organization will have a solid, committed employee base, poised to move into front position when the turnaround comes. But this will only happen if TALK becomes the preferred vehicle of communication.
For more on Eileen McDargh, visit her page.