The other day, I came across this interesting diagram which asks: “Who do I want to be during COVID-19?”
It’s a valuable question.
Though it certainly isn’t easy to remain level-headed during times of crisis, we owe it to ourselves and the people around us to overcome selfishness and act in a way that helps both ourselves and others.
I then reflected on how this same logic can be scaled to an entire company...
Since this all started, I’m sure we’ve all come into contact with businesses which have conducted themselves commendably; tactfully adjusting their marketing strategies, helping customers and other businesses where they can, and generally being the best people they can be.
Conversely, I’m sure everyone reading this has also come into contact with at least one business which hasn’t.
So this brings me to the question: what kind of business do you want to be during COVID-19?
The Fear Zone
At the individual level, this would be the people hoarding toilet paper and boarding up their windows.
At the business level? Those who allow panic to cloud their judgement and make the kind of executive decisions that suggest the world is coming to an end.
Businesses in the fear zone allow unease and demotivation spread amongst their staff, perhaps even going so far as to prematurely terminate jobs before fully assessing the situation.
They also may conduct business with customers or other companies in bad faith; delaying payments, rescinding contracts, or breaking agreements. This, of course, simply offsets and multiplies problems instead of solving them, and ultimately hurts the economy as a whole.
The Learning Zone
Businesses in the learning zone recognize that our current situation will not last forever, and seek to “weather the storm” in a calm and intelligent manner.
They identify how exactly COVID-19 will affect their business (NOT how a viral Whatsapp message says it will) and make adjustments to counter this.
This may involve tightening budgets, or changing how you reach out to customers.
And it definitely involves an open discourse with all members of the team, to foster an environment where concerns are dealt with together, with transparency.
The Growth Zone
Businesses in the growth zone haven’t just adapted to survive, but have set their sights firmly on the future.
Crucially, this isn’t about growth for growth’s sake. I don’t think anyone respects a business who is currently focusing on their profits alone during this time - especially if those profits come as a result of manipulating the situation.
So how does a business practice empathy and promote growth during a crisis?
Well, I definitely don’t have all the answers. But I think a good place to start is by changing our processes as much as possible to allow for patience and understanding… for customers and other businesses alike.
For CANDDi, this was pausing outstanding invoices for our customers who were still trying to figure things out, and launching a free trial to allow as many people as possible to benefit from what we do.
I’ve seen other SMEs do some amazing work with offering free content, courses, and webinars aimed at teaching others the skills they need to prosper during this time. Ironically enough, it seems like it’s never been easier to develop your business skill set than right now, during a global pandemic!
Clearly, no one ever knows how to do the right thing 100% of the time. But we’d love to hear your ideas on how we can do our best together.