As we got started, the mood of the room was tempered. We were a small group of 20 business owners all from the same town and with a narrow purpose; help each other to discover simple ways to lead our teams into a post-pandemic world.
The volume of life is on maximum decibels and the opportunity to come into a quiet, intentional room to think and respond are becoming scarce.
After a few minutes walking through the reality of where we are today, we began to think deeply about that reality and what it would take to lead in the life geography of what is around the corner.
We admitted that what life looks like today was something that we were unable to predict back in the spring of 2020 with the choppy and confusing announcements being reported and the prognostics changing minute by minute.
We also agreed that we would not be able to closely predict what would be coming around the corner. We started instead with what we know…human behavior.
While we do not have a roadmap to the future of pandemics and geo-politics, we do have wisdom roadmaps explaining that for human behavior, namely, “there is nothing new under the sun” (incidentally, that wisdom likely holds true for pandemics and geo-politics as well).
We began to think back and ask ourselves the question, “based on what we know about people, what are areas that people of all types and all situations are positively impacted by, and how can we install those things to lead our team into a post-pandemic world?”
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With no grand strategy in place, our small group of 20 business owners determined three areas that would empower our businesses to lead into a post-pandemic world.
Twice this year, I can think back to times where I have had a smile on my face that would not come off.
In August, my wife and daughter sent my two sons and I off barreling down the side of a Montana mountain on bikes. It was a blast! We would ride up a chair lift, mount up the mountain bikes and race down the hill.
At one point, I was trying to show off for my oldest son who was stopped up ahead, and jumped what I thought were back-to-back jumps not realizing there was a third jump awaiting my low-skilled experience. My feet slammed to the ground, and my rear end slammed down so hard on the seat that it bent the seat frame and I was riding the tire. I thought my foot was broken, and the right pedal dug into my calf looking like a bear had dug its claws in. My back hurt, my foot hurt, my calf was on fire…and I was SMILING!
Just recently, me and a couple of clients went to a local indoor, electric go-kart track where the cars are capable of speeds up to 40 mph. Not sure how fast we were going, but for about an hour, I couldn’t stop smiling.
When is the last time you played? When is the last time your team members played?
Must I dole on the value of play? We all know it is healthy…let’s do it more.
Second, we are determined to do a better job of leading our teams into a post-pandemic world by creating higher levels of predictability.
We are obsessed with new, shiny, loud, novel, innovative, and late-model ideas and things. As we continued to have conversation, we realized that amidst tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses handed out, salary increases, employee benefits, and making sure we had just the right logo, what people care about more is predictability.
Not boredom, not mundanity…predictability.
Owners are notoriously unpredictable, irrational, and last-minute personalities.
Team members do not typically speak that language. According to the DISC profile, most people are passive and responsive…waiting for instructions on what to do next.
When we act unpredictably, it causes confusion, tension, anxiety, and concern.
The good news is that predictability is within reach. We can create predictable structure (org charts), vision, mission, values, processes, and systems; all of which bring clarity and confidence.
Finally, in order to better lead our teams in a post-pandemic world, we believe that over communication will win the day.
The irony is, you can’t over communicate if you don’t have predictability.
Think back to the time you were stuck in an airplane on the tarmac for 15 minutes without moving (or an hour, or 3 hours!). Wouldn’t have been just a little better if the pilot would have come on to simply explain what she knew, even if it is no new news?
Communication is the simple exchange of information. This does not give us license to air all things, but it does give us the opportunity to share the things that others need to hear.
Predictable communication happens through planning. Planned team meetings, daily huddles, regularly scheduled team member check ins, vision days, and training days.
We hear the excuse all the time, “well, we talk all throughout the day.” That is not a winning communication strategy for any relationship, including your business.
Let’s commit ourselves to do a better job of playing, of creating predictability, and of over communication with our team, our family, and our customers.
Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters. Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.