How to Prosper in Uncertainty
Welcome to a new way of living. As we all are hunkered down in a self-induced quarantine, learning how to go at life a little differently can be difficult at times. In order for us to continue to be safe and well — and continue to be productive — JMac Consulting presents an inspirational mini-series on how to adjust to our new lives.
VIRTUALLY POSSIBLE SERIES
Losing your mind yet? Suddenly trying to juggle kids and your job simultaneously? Having a difficult time communicating with your team through a computer? Or maybe you’re avoiding the tough, but necessary conversations because you don’t want to seem impersonal?
We at JMac Consulting are launching “Virtually Possible”, a suite of quick hit video clips, webinars and articles to help keep you and your team motivated. Your world has been virtually turned upside down. We’re here to help.
June 24, 2020
How much sleep have you lost thinking about reopening your office? It isn’t an easy decision, and there’s no ‘one size fits all.’ Industry, scope and scale all weigh in.
Some of you have chosen to mitigate your risk significantly by keeping your workforce at home. After all, your productivity never truly diminished, and the cost of a pandemic hitting your employees like one big domino could be catastrophic.
Yet others have decided that productivity has suffered due to plummeting motivation, so back to the office you go. Regardless of your decision, there is a whole new set of challenges that await you…
One of the biggest obstacles may be somewhat invisible, yet potentially calamitous: the opinions of your employees.
Some are overtly vocal, rallying troops to their camp. Others mimic poison, silently seeping into the bloodstream of your culture, though not in a noisy way. There will also be a faction of folks who are pleased with the decision and eager to execute. Regardless of the differing perspectives, most will be emotionally charged even if they are using logic to validate their positions.
This can put you in a precarious position as a leader and decision maker. Weighing in on any sides of this table can win you as many foes as friends. So what will you do?
Here are a few guidelines to consider as you continue to blaze your trail:
You can’t please everyone, but you can gain clarity. You may need more information before you have all the facts. Consider conducting a short survey so that you can more readily differentiate between your feelings and the feelings of the majority of your employees. Read articles on the measurable data being collected by companies that have already brought their workforce back to the office. From that place of knowing, you can make a decision with greater confidence. The second you step out of this balance, you run a high risk of becoming too accommodating or too rebellious – both of which will fracture your culture.
What you once envisioned to be your happiest, healthiest and most productive workforce has changed. There is a new normal for all businesses. What will yours look like at its best?
Once you create a vision and make a decision, you will have to create new policies to both support your decision and the well-being of your workforce. No small task. Do your due diligence. Without it, the holes in your plan will be filled with the toxicity of negative emotions.
Every great leader embodies compassion and empathy. In this historical timeframe, you can lose your ground (and your strength) if you attempt to sympathize with every person’s situation. The challenges for your collective workforce are vast. The spectrum of emotions is wide. Set your intention to create a healthy culture and then let it go. Focus on the vision, not on everyone’s problems, and you will succeed.
This is prime time for individuals with low emotional intelligence to channel their angst in inappropriate ways. Just as the old saying, “hire slow, fire fast,” implies, don’t allow that type of negativity to take hold. Be sure to speak directly to the person who is blaming and shaming others. Let them know it won’t be tolerated. Outline clear direction for the type of behavior you expect them to exhibit as well as the consequences should they choose not to make the necessary change. The longer you ignore it, the more the damage increases – sometimes exponentially.
Leadership isn’t easy. The COVID era has forced every leader to up their game. No matter how mentally and emotionally drained you feel, you are not alone. Remember to take care of your own basic wellness so that you maintain a clear head.
The reward is relative to the courage you exercise. Keep your eye on the destination and push through your fears one by one as they come. You may not see the light yet, but it always appears. Everything in your career prepared you for this moment. Step into your leadership role fully and faithfully.
And one day, believe it or not, you will actually enjoy sharing all your stories. We all have them. Nevertheless, if you think at any point you are experiencing too much risk and too little reward, pull in an objective third party to help you regain insight and stamina.
This is a time in history that is bigger than all of us, no matter how exceptional your leadership skills may be. Sometimes asking for help is the greatest sign of true strength.
May 18, 2020
Every one of us is trying to determine our new normal. Do we go out? Do we wear masks? Are we exercising responsible social distancing?
As a leader, one of the biggest questions you may be asking yourself is, “Should we go back to the office?” If so, how?
As we develop potentially anxiety-inducing plans to head back to the office, let’s create the most optimal and intentional mindset first.
Before you brainstorm, plan, and execute, ask yourself:
Why are you returning to the office? Is it because your own feelings of isolation have hit a cabin fever pitch? Are you afraid your employees are taking advantage of their time at home? Or can you legitimately cite an objective, calculable rationale that warrants taking appropriate measures to do so in a safe manner?
You can determine if your return plan is sturdy by vetting it against your fears. If you are bothered by issues that others don’t understand, chances are good that you are making decisions based on bad memories, grudges or blind principles rather than sound judgment. Face the flaws in your thinking and revisit your strategy.
Do you possess sales and/or productivity data that supports your desire to reconvene your workforce? Have you surveyed your staff to gauge their comfort levels? Or are you making decisions based on how you feel and how you believe or assume others feel? Have you already started working from the office with no detrimental consequences? If so, you may be falsely assessing the safety of asking others to follow suit.
A lease? Assets that you no longer need? Your need to control the situation? Having a sense of control is critical to our well-being; yet oftentimes, we go about gaining it in detrimental ways. Do what you need to do to clear your mind and find power in your vulnerability.
Oftentimes the human brain defaults to either/or. In this case, it may be ‘either we all continue to work from home or we make a plan to return to normal.’ Chances are good there’s a third option that needs permission to surface.
If you aren’t the only decisionmaker, you may be facing a stalemate or dissent. This is the moment the value of a hierarchical structure shines through. One person is ultimately accountable for the final decision. If you are operating from a more collaborative structure, then you may have to revert to a vote. Regardless, once the decision is made, EVERY leader must get on board with it.
Consider this: whatever mental, emotional or behavioral challenges you faced under normal circumstances are now being amplified. Disallow your mind’s distorted view from coloring your logic and focus your attention on the most mutually beneficial solution.
All non-essential workplaces and employees are having to turn ‘business as usual’ on its head. Leverage this understanding by creating alternative means to a productive and profitable end. We all want to resume what we once knew – unless, of course, there was a nightmarish commute involved.
Together, we can discover and commit to a new normal that allows us to thrive in spite of dire threats. Caving to desires increases our risk. Creative, collaborative problem-solving mitigates this risk. Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers. You need only pure intent and an open mind that allows others to contribute to an innovative game plan.
Maybe instead of returning, it’s rejuvenation that we seek.
March 30, 2020
If you’ve ever taken a personality profile, you are probably familiar with labels like Introvert, Extravert, Feeler and Thinker, among others. Some of you may have never taken one, while others have taken over a dozen. If you’re among the former, simply go to www.16personalities.com to get your first (free) personality assessment underway.
For those of you who already have your personality acronym in hand, here’s a quick guide to leveraging the best of you:
Are you having trouble navigating the many personalities on your team in your new-normal virtual workplace? Ever wonder how much more productive you and your colleagues could be if you could just get on the same page? Through a series of webinars and coaching sessions, JMac Consulting can help your team better understand each other and solve recurring relationship and communication challenges. After working with JMac Consulting, your team will be able to experience higher levels of camaraderie and cohesion, and will be able to work together successfully in a virtual environment. Contact Rebecca Turk at [email protected] for more information.
March 27, 2020
Now that your daily routine has been turned upside down, you have a huge opportunity to initiate new, healthier habits. This will not only keep you sane, but could turn out to be the best lifestyle intervention you’ve ever had!
Since we all share the goal of increasing our steps and becoming healthier, below is a quick guide to doing so in a new, energizing way.
“Did you say love?!” Yes. Coming from a place of compassion helps us all to make tough situations more palatable. It allows for us to make decisions that help everyone win: customers, team members and the business itself. It doesn’t mean that everyone is happy with your decisions. But it will generate empathy when the pure intent behind it is obvious.
Pay attention to how healthy your behavior is during these challenging times. Taking the steps above will help you train your brain and reprogram your behavior so that in the end, this time of quarantine not only protected you, but brought out the best in you.
Interested in this Series for your Organization?
Contact Rebecca Turk at [email protected] to learn more about our Virtually Possible suite of low cost, high value virtual content including quick tips, webinars and articles to help keep you and your team motivated.
TOPICS OF DISCUSSION
- How to lead successfully in a virtual environment
- Foundational shifts and changes in a virtual workplace
- How to co-habitate with family and friends
- How to handle tough conversations virtually
- And many more!