5 Skills for Navigating Your Business Through COVID-19

Simple Tips to Help A Business in Covid Times

Coronavirus has seen an acceleration of how the work environment of the future will look. ‘Pivot’ has become the buzzword for 2020. Teams are being transformed, the change has been unpredicted, rapid, and unplanned. 

Can we use the Coronavirus catalyst to lay the groundwork for future essential workplace tools?

Sistr spoke to Lara Morgan, a straight-talking entrepreneur, and investor. Lara is an expert when it comes to thinking and acting outside of the box. 

Here are 5 of our top business skills to help your business navigate the current COVID-19 climate.

Leadership is Lonely

Do you feel lonely as a leader? You’re not alone. Harvard Business Review featured an article whereby the author reported that 50% of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness. Of this 50%, 61% believe it impacts their performance negatively. Focusing on first time CEOs, the report found nearly 70% experience feelings of isolation.  

If you’re the leader, how can you address loneliness? Lara’s advice is simple and concise. 

Accept it is normal. Acknowledge you are not alone in your feelings. Take yourself in hand. 

Loneliness isn’t positive for culture, decision-making, or performance. Find a confidante and/or a mentor. Someone who will give it to you straight. You need honesty and directness. Don’t let yourself become so isolated that you become less in tune with others’ perspectives. You need an outside perspective now more than ever. 

Networks such as sistr exist for this precise reason. A network of women who will listen. A network of women who will guide and offer potential solutions. A network that alleviates loneliness. Your blind spots will be exposed and you’ll have the power to attack them at a deeper level rather than just skimming the surface. You are not alone

Prioritize by Profit or People?

In today’s current market of cut-throat competition, companies need to stay focused on the bottom line. Should the bottom line take priority over an organisation’s people? Is profit-over-people an effective strategy? 

Lara highlights the importance of not neglecting your ‘books’. Never assume that it’s ok to push finances down the priority ladder. 

Set aside the time for finances, even if it is the most cursed day of your week/month. 

The question remains, should they take precedence over people? According to a recent report, 66% of HR Managers failed to consider staff amongst the top 3 assets of the company. 

The data speaks for itself – this is wrong. A recent HBR report found that companies that invested in staff initiatives were four times more profitable per employee than those who didn’t. 

So the mindset needs to change. Staff need to be viewed as your most valuable asset. Regarding staff as liabilities rather than assets is dangerous ground. You need to change both in the way you view employees and your methods of recruiting, incentivizing, and retaining. This is most pertinent with millennials who, by 2025 will make up a whopping 75% of the workforce. 

Change your approach and play the long game. Invest in training programs that foster success mindsets and development that, in the long term, will grow your top line, despite causing a short-term bulge on the bottom line. 

Should a Team Have a Hierarchy? 

Hierarchy is defined as being the vertical differences between team members. Do teams operate more efficiently in a hierarchical culture? Does a hierarchy dampen team effectiveness? 

Firstly define ‘team effectiveness’. What conditions do you need in place to enable a team to operate effectively? Clear, commonly defined goals; respecting and acknowledging team members and their role in the team; strong comms; defining success in your business; appropriate resources. 

Does a hierarchy have a positive impact on your team effectiveness? Yes, it can map out career paths. Yes, it can create authority and unity. Yes, it can provide effective organization and accountability. But, it can also lead to conflict, confusion, the dilution of information, and the absence of a skilled network.

Speaking to Lara, her message is clear where her approach lies. 

Remove the hierarchy, report ‘up’ to your team, and beyond to your customer. Your customer is key. If you don’t know your customer, you know nothing. 

How can you then expect your employees to follow your lead? Remove the ‘leader’ and connect yourselves as a broad network of units; without one unit the network collapses. 

Pack Power – Can Women Trust Women?

It’s an age-old stereotype – women don’t support other women. We view each other as competition and won’t collaborate. Let’s face it, every woman will have experienced a situation of cultural and systemic hurdles that often prevent them from advancing in the workplace. Women’s rights have come on leaps and bounds but as Lara says;

We can either sit and cry about it or, we can gather power from ‘our pack’. 

Women supporting women is an incredible force to be reckoned with. Raising each other up and collaborating is the most effective way to change stereotypes. Sistr’s mission is to create an ‘inner circle’ for women that fosters trust and encouragement. By forming close connections we as women can share experiences. The power of the pack is then immeasurable. You have a networking circle based on common goals, shared interests and diverse experience. Suddenly networking is no longer work but relationship building. 

Can Virtual Teams Operate Harmoniously?

Let’s hit this one straight on. The answer is no. No team operates harmoniously. If you expect harmony, you do so at the risk of losing respect. Take a look at your team. You’ll have all sorts of skill sets, ages, religions, sexuality, parents, single parents, extroverts, introverts. Would you expect such diversity to live happily ever after? No, nor would you want them to. It would suppress anyone wanting to offer an opinion, for fear of upsetting the harmonious balance. In the absence of harmony, how should teams operate?

Choose respect over harmony. Treat yourself the same as your staff and treat your boss the same way you’d like them to treat you. It’s a two-way street. You’re never going to drive in the same direction all the time but, everyone wants their ideas and presence to be respected.

So 2020, we see you, we hear you, and we’re going to raise you a new mindset. Now is the perfect time to reset company cultural boundaries. The behaviours and processes that haven’t worked in the past? Draw a line in the sand. Reaffirm what will stay. Confirm what will go. 

Do you need a helping hand? Are you looking for guidance? We have mentors from all industries who are here to help. click here.