I spent Monday morning talking to my clients about their responses to the escalation of the Coronavirus situation. I don’t want to go into the specifics of their responses for the simple reason that they are not YOU, and they are not in YOUR context. However, I do want to talk about the source of those responses. 

I’m already sick of the bandwagon-ing and the childish re-badging of standard business content as ‘what you need to do to thrive and survive through Coronavirus’. If I am offered another ‘Seven Steps to…’ I will be inserting it in a place on the service providers person where even COVID-19 fears to tread.

At this point, there is something more important to put your attention to than the latest, and let’s be honest, blatantly obvious, strategy or plan (if you don’t believe me, I’ll prepare a one-page checklist today and circulate it tomorrow).

My clients each had a unique sense of the situation and what it meant for their businesses, customers, and own lives. The responses I listened to range from ‘do nothing’ to comprehensive plans for battening down the hatches. 

In some cases, there are some unique marketing and sales opportunities present too. Each one of them managed to justify their positions with a unique blend of fact, opinion, and guesswork that, to them, seemed perfectly rational and grounded in common sense.

They were all completely right and all completely wrong.

Just like every one of us (including myself), my clients made meaning of Coronavirus by reference to the map of the world they hold in their head. Every piece of information they receive is filtered and distorted through their personal mythology to make meaning of it so they can identify an appropriate response.

A few degrees of error in perception or response are the difference between effortlessly navigating through this next three months, complacency, panic, wasted money or missed opportunities. This is never truer than in situations like this one. 

As Business Leaders, you are well-calibrated to dealing with some level of uncertainty.

Running a company comes with a permanent underlying level of dis-ease. The challenge is that we have no personal precedent for navigating through situations like these. We have no experiences that can turn the unknown into something more familiar. If we want to spot the new opportunities, make good decisions, take action and keep moving forward, our priority is to calibrate ourselves and our teams to take responsibility for moving through the chaos.

Now, more than ever, Business Leaders need finely tuned intuition and high-quality interpretation of the data available. 

There are no boilerplate strategies and tactics that will work for business (or life, for that matter) as we move into uncertainty. You, and the commercial context of your company, are too unique for that.

The first point of intervention in your company.

Must be the work you do with your business leaders, clearly seeing who they are, why they behave the way they do and encouraging them to step up. Then we can be confident that our ideas, decisions, and actions will be the best they can be. This is what I mean by calibrating your leaders.

You can quickly learn how to:

  • eliminate the biases and distortions present in your thinking (literally the difference between good and bad decision making in this constantly shifting environment).
  • create a cohesive but flexible plan of action to give you a sense of new momentum.
  • develop the levels of resilience and confidence you need to do what needs to be done (and say what needs to be said) to maximise your chances of getting some positive outcomes.
  • build relationships that get your teams to do whatever needs to be done, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, to keep the company moving.
  • focus everyone on the four key elements that will keep your company healthy.

This is not a piece of learning for when you have time or when things have calmed down. It is learning for NOW, while the situation is live and shifting.