A Rising Phoenix
Whether we remain the ash or become the Phoenix is up to us.
~ Ming-Dao Deng
- Build a cathedral rather than cutting stone; help your employees know what your purpose is as an organization.
- Always remember, Entrepreneurs are endurance athletes.
- Embrace facts not opinions.
- Be a constant for your employees, especially during times of uncertainty.
- Customers have changed, learn to remove client objections.
The Full Scoop
This past week I had the pleasure of spending time with a large group of entrepreneurs and business leaders; virtually of course. COVID-19 continues to create changes to our lives in ways we could have never imagined. Business owners the world over have been working overtime to re-engineer their organizations to align with this new reality. It was refreshing to spend time with like-minded individuals, while our organizations may differ; our desire to grow and thrive was a unifying factor throughout the discussion.
As a firm that specializes in IT Service and Support, our mission at the end of the day is rather simple; we want to help organizations implement technology in a way that supports and propels their teams towards their definition of success. That is going to mean different things to different customers. For some they simply need help with a vendor software upgrade or a remote IT Helpdesk. Other clients may want networking or specialized Cybersecurity support, or it could be help with deploying applications and servers to the cloud.
At times, the workload can be very heavy and if we aren't careful, employees can lose sight of our core values and mission. We were reminded that employees need to understand their role within our organization. Our IT Helpdesk staff are not simply answering phone calls and fixing Microsoft 365 issues, they are helping healthcare professionals meet the medical needs of families in our community. Our clients are in a variety of industries, each one serving a vital function within our society; we are helping these organizations meet the needs of their families, stakeholders and customer base; and it is a privilege.
Business owners and leaders need to remember that we are running a Marathon, we are endurance athletes, and taking time to rejuvenate and recenter is critical; not just for yourself, but for your employees. Healthy employees help contribute to healthy organizations.
On a personal level, employees need to hear from you as a leader. Employees need to know you support them in their roles and that they are a critical part of the organization. Colin Powell has thoughtfully remarked,
"Leadership is about people. It is not about organisations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is about people motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centric”.
One business leader we heard from stressed the importance of allowing employees to schedule 1:1 time with you as their manager. You can't treat people as cogs on an ongoing basis, and expect them to become more than just a cog. If you want a dynamic and contributing workforce, you need to treat them in a way that encourages their growth and dynamism. Find ways to encourage input from your team, on our IT Helpdesk (for example) there is no one else who works so closely with the business users. We as an executive team need to learn what they know, and find ways to solve the IT problems that clients are experiencing on a re-occurring and evolving basis; this can't happen without good communication.
In technology, we learn quickly that you can't rely on guesswork to fix a network or server issue; there is a right way and a wrong way. Opinions and instability will not help your IT system run properly. Similarly, during this pandemic we need to find ways to focus on facts and best known remedies for navigating through these challenging times. Embracing opinions and rumors within your organization, will just lead to further anxiety and confusion. Let your employees and customers know of your confidence for the future.
As COVID-19 changes our lives, we need to understand that our customers are changing. The needs that they had as an organization last year, are not going to be their same needs this year. Identify the objections that clients have to your product offerings. In our line of work, long contract terms have always been a hurdle to on-boarding clients. We have found that reducing contract terms is a simple way to remove client objections and blockers. Find the blockers that are preventing your team from selling in this new environment, to meet the needs of your clients in today's market.
There is an end to all of this, learn when to play defense and when to play offense. There are organizations that will exit this experience leaner and meaner, and others that will collapse under the rising tide. Use this time to re-center, focus, and push ahead with confidence. As you do, you will reap the many benefits that only come through the refining fire of change.