The world has been in a state of disarray for months now as we collectively battle COVID-19. Many organizations are left asking themselves how do we adapt to the new environment before us? Things are changing so rapidly within a short amount of time that the plan often looks different day-to-day. One week ago, we didn’t know what “social distancing” was and “flattening the curve” meant something completely different. Your organization is likely facing similar problems, and your teams will be looking to you for answers. So, how do you create buy-in with the changes ahead?
“ When we are forced to adapt, innovation comes front and center. We as leaders must start to visualize what our new future might look like and how our teams can contribute to the vision.”
Managers and team members alike are scrambling to figure out how to find a “new normal” during COVID-19 in an environment that limits physical contact and collaboration. Of course, there are great examples of organizations out there that are excelling when it comes to adapting to their new environment; food trucks are going through neighborhoods offering meals, gyms are offering virtual aerobic classes, early release movies are being streamed to our TVs at home, pizza restaurants are offering take-and-bake options, automotive companies like GM, Ford, and Tesla are helping to make medical supplies, and onsite trainings are going virtual – just to name a few!
When we are forced to adapt, innovation comes front and center. We as leaders must start to visualize what our new future might look like and how our teams can contribute to the vision. New services and business ventures are rising out of unexpected places. Leaders are being forced to dig up new opportunities that they might not have thought of otherwise. So, as your organization adapts and pivots towards new strategies, how do you encourage your team to adapt with you?
4 tips to keep your team on track and rolling through COVID-19:
Relax. Easier said than done, right? But we need to try. Adaptability is not ‘going with the flow’, but rather creating peace amid unrest. Helping your team relax by making time to talk (virtually) about other things that don’t have to do with work or what’s on the news is a great start. Focus on fun ideas that people are practicing at home with their pets and/or families or find a funny video you could share with the group to spark a release of dopamine. We call them ‘dopamine dumps’. Whatever your approach, you’ll engage your team’s brains to work at a higher level and feel connected beyond their screen – an absolute necessity in today’s climate.
Brainstorm a new plan. Everything has changed in the last week, meaning every department in every company will need to devise a new plan of communication, sales, or infrastructure in one way or another. A great way to connect and bring your team together would be to brainstorm ideas as a team. Being transparent and inclusive will help soothe any concerns that people may have and make them feel a part of the solution. Creating buy-in will help everyone start moving in the same direction faster.
Get Creative. Take time to research what others are doing. Sometimes our workload is too heavy to be able to step away and look at software or process changes that could lighten or streamline the workload of others. Right now is the perfect time to research how you can help people start working more efficiently as a team and on an individual level.
Have Fun. We can’t stress this enough! Find ways to laugh together and cultivate a sense of community. Isolation can foster negative emotions that will only further isolate them from the team. As a leader, your team is looking to you for encouragement and a morale boost. Take time to have fun and feed off each other’s energy. You may be physically distanced, but social connection is still important.
As your organization faces potential economic uncertainty, as a result of COVID-19, lean into your people. Practice transparency, honesty, and authentic communication early and often. Without a committed and connected team, creating buy-in to new roll-out plans and procedures will be difficult. In this climate, adaptation is a team sport.