Apocalypse or opportunity: How to protect your business

How creating community and purpose can protect your business

Covid-19 is everywhere. Well… fortunately, not *everywhere*. But it’s all over the news, it’s infecting our inboxes with updates from every retailer we’ve ever handed our details to, it’s taking over our social media feeds as people deal with the facts in their own way – humour, alarm, fear, kindness.

From a psychological standpoint, that constant barrage of information is akin to being under siege, with the ambiguous uncertainty a cruel twist as we sit with baited breath, awaiting the unknown.

But this isn’t a short war, so holding your breath isn’t a feasible strategy for business (or life). Coronavirus is here for long haul, so now is the time to make a plan for supporting, engaging and focusing your team – for their physical and emotional health, and the health of your business.

It’s about feeling in control

Look at the ‘toilet paper crisis’ – an unexpected knee jerk reaction that is in part concerning, hilarious and perplexing. That was, until someone explained to me that rushing out to stock up on adequate toilet tickets to support an army of five hundred through Armageddon (for a family of four in suburban Sydney) was actually a control mechanism in the face of uncertainty.

When so much is out of our control, people want to take back some measure of power, to be actively doing something to contribute to a better outcome for themselves and their loved ones.

And it doesn’t stop at toilet paper. We’re seeing bizarre reactions in all kinds of ways, from resource hoarding to short-sighted decision making that’s impacting people personally and professionally.

What we can do as leaders

As leaders, it’s up to us to recognise those behaviours in our team and to take steps to stem the flow in the work context. Taking a minute to bring our people back together, recreating the sense of community, will do more for your team, your business and your clients than panicking and trying to lock in new work. Humans are designed for connection, and your team and business will both be better off if everyone bands together and focuses on short-term goals with positive long-term impacts.

If clients are cancelling or holding on orders or projects stalling, make the most of this opportunity to share the love (and not the virus) within your team.

Guide employees back to a sense of purpose and normalcy with good leadership and team building activities centred around authentic communication, transparency and positivity. These are simple tools, but they will prove critical in helping your team connect with each other (even via technology when working remotely) in a time where we’re fearful of connecting with others at all.