June 1, 2020
-Don’t get overwhelmed by your volume of work. Understand the big picture, prioritize tasks and go after them one at a time.
We were in a “virtual meeting” discussing COVID 19 shutdowns across nearly every State in the Nation. Between the 12 of us there were almost 30 undergraduate and graduate level degrees, and an entire alphabet of professional certifications to punctuate our collective 350+ years of business experience. We were as prepared as anyone could be, but just like everyone else waiting on information. Government regulations, client reactions, policy adaptations, employee feedback and the market; there was much to discuss.
-Keep hypotheticals from derailing the planning process, but don’t fully exclude them. Focus on the most likely and highest risk scenarios.
We started with what we knew, and what we could control. We regularly reference to the Pareto principle, or 80-20 rule, where 80% of a problem is dependent on 20% of the data. We identified the first states to take action and correctly assumed that other states would follow suit with similar policies, regulations and definitions of terms. We processed what seemed as intentionally vague legal guidance, and limited our hypotheticals to the most likely and most dangerous scenarios.
-Imitate those who are already productive. If you don’t have to reinvent the wheel you will get further faster.
Because of the geographic profile of the clients we serve, remote work has been our company’s normal for many years. We were early adopters of cloud technology, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and virtual private networks (VPN) to support satellite offices and geographically remote clients. Our leadership’s familiarity with these tools helped us continue business as usual. It was also a great asset when talking with clients who did not have the same level of familiarity, and were struggling through technological growing pains. Although separate from their IT systems; we could offer basic verbal troubleshooting while touching base. Often this reduced their need to escalate problems to their extremely busy IT groups, and helped with our partner’s overwhelming individual to do lists.
-Leaders can delegate authority, but not their responsibilities. Understanding that balance requires trust and effective communication.
We have Veterans on our teams at every level, and their involvement in our response is a testament to military skills transferable into the workplace. The experience, and bonds formed working under pressure are extremely useful to effective communication. Delivering bottom line up front directives while receiving clear and concise reports is essential, especially when there is not a digital workflow that covers pandemic. Many of our military experience conversations involved chemical warfare training. Although this sounds like an overreaction; military training for decontamination, and experiences like the CS (tear) gas chamber added a level of familiarity to a process previously unknown to many so regular- thorough wipe downs of common areas against our invisible threat became the norm. Having leaders with that experience at the front line/essential level added competence to difficult tasks, and confidence in everyone around them.
Follow up- isn’t just a courtesy. It’s a part of the process. Customer Service skills put those around and depending on you at ease.
The world is constantly fighting for our attention. Increasing bandwidth, mobile capabilities, aggregated news content presented in real time, high definition screens, and targeted persuasion techniques, bombard us with stimuli. The war on our attention span encourages quick changes between tasks is mentally exhausting and can create an illusion of productivity. Add a crisis, and tasks will be missed, forgotten, or only partially completed. This is why the “follow-up” is essential. Highly empathetic individuals or those with the “customer service gene” can be fantastic examples of correct follow up technique.
Take care, share as needed and looking forward to the next phase of re-opening!
Consider It Done.