Moving Forward in a Pandemic
11.18.20 · Ashley Bowen Cook
The uncertainties of COVID-19 can paralyze end-of-year planning efforts. How can you make informed decisions when there are so many unknowns? I have some suggestions.
Reduce Your Scope
Instead of putting together a media buy or campaign tactics for the full year, just tackle the first quarter. Like the old adage of eating an elephant one bite at a time, challenges become surmountable when you approach them in manageable pieces. Nothing good happens when you feel overwhelmed or overloaded.
Synchronize with Others
Listen to your team and their concerns – both about work and issues they may be encountering in their private lives. Understand that people may feel a bit raw right now, with emotions close to the surface. Foster a corporate culture of caring, belonging and purpose. Ever heard the line, “Never worry alone”? It’s good advice.
Be Empathetic and Real
The feelings and concerns you’re having are probably not unique to you. Your customers and your team almost certainly have similar thoughts racing through their heads. Don’t mask your feelings or think you always have to wear a fake, happy face. Let others see you are human.
Video conferencing has saved the day for many of us. But too much of it is fatiguing. It doesn’t matter which platform you use: Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams or something else. Before you set up the meeting, think whether you could simply email or send a shared document to spur collaboration.
Whether you occupy the C-suite or work on the factory floor, you can be a leader. That means not fixating on short-term difficulties, but remembering that we will get through this. Sooner if we address things directly. Encourage others that better days will come. They will.
Get Up and Move
Consider breaks and walks as necessities, not niceties. It’s easy to let thoughts spiral downward or to get locked into a go-nowhere thought pattern. Leave your desk. Walk around (preferably outside). Get some cardio before work if possible. It elevates your mood and lets you enjoy that uplift all day.
Spend Time in Nature
Spending time in green spaces can do you a world of good – from reduced anxiety and lower blood pressure to improved cognition and boosted immunity. Communing with nature puts things in balance. Helping you sleep better and feel calmer. You return to work more creative and productive.
Rest Up to Regain Focus
Planning is a high-level cognitive activity. We need to fill our tanks so to speak in order to have the mental energy to plan. The uncertainties of life today can deplete our ability to think critically and clearly. Care for yourself by getting enough rest, eating regularly and drinking water.
Behavioral scientist Daniel Pink says he used to believe that timing is everything, but has come to understand that everything is timing. That especially applies now. Acknowledging the forces at work around us can help us work smarter, plan better – and successfully come out on the other side of this thing.
Celebrate Small Victories
It’s more important than ever to acknowledge good things as they happen. Nuggets of positive news help pull us through the day and create a sense of positive motion. Share these wins through Slack, on your intranet, in team meetings, on your social channels and in direct interactions. Spark some joy.
I hope this helps you. This storm will pass. Let’s lift our faces and welcome the sun.