We’re fast approaching the two-year anniversary of the moment when coronavirus forced us inside and our worlds changed forever. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Yet here we are, plugging away and adapting like the evolutionary creatures we are.
The global disruptions to the ways of doing work were jarring, but successful businesses and hard-working employees were quick to dig in and build resiliency in response. For those companies that want to become even more resilient to whatever the next change may be, here are a few recommendations:
1. Establish purpose and vision.
You won’t know where you’re going as an organization without a plan. Many well-meaning companies have careened off a cliff and into oblivion simply because they didn’t follow an agreed-upon road map, and that journey needs to start with a bona fide mission statement. Once you determine why you’re doing something, you’ll be able to align your purpose and vision to that mission — and those guardrails will strengthen the overall resilience and resolve of the entire workforce.
“Creating your organization’s vision is an exercise where you’ll want to ‘go big or go home,’” says Sheryl Lyons, founder and president of Culture Spark. “Take the time to do it with excellence. With the right team, goals and messaging, your vision will permeate all aspects of your corporate culture and set the tone for the future of your organization for years to come.”
2. Create a committee focused on transformation.
Ideas don’t happen in a vacuum. Collaboration is key when it comes to companywide initiatives, whether your team is working remotely, in the office together or within a hybrid arrangement. If you want a strong, resilient team, establish a diverse committee that devotes time and energy to future-casting and identifying opportunities for transformation (digital or otherwise).
“Oftentimes, operational change takes a concerted effort from a collective of individuals. Implementing new ways of working is no different,” says Rajan Kohli, global managing partner and president of Wipro’s iDEAS and an expert in helping create more resilient workforces. “In fact, it will likely take some time to normalize such an initiative companywide before the training wheels can come off. Pull together a transformation team to monitor and manage the process.”
3. Spend time with loyal customers to learn what they love about your business.
Anyone who’s ever met me knows how passionate I am about “superfans.” And no, I’m not referring to those “Da Bears” sketches from 35-year-old “Saturday Night Live” episodes; I’m talking about your brand advocates — the customers who absolutely love your products or services. Do well by them, and your future is bright.
My biggest suggestion to companies that want to cultivate a legion of superfans is to align their corporate story with the customer’s life. Why should your business be an integral part of their personal stories? Once you establish that connection, go above and beyond to delight that customer. Interact with them on social channels. Once people realize they don’t want to live without their relationship with you, they’re hooked and will follow you to the ends of the earth. Take advantage of those special relationships, as they are the lifeblood of any successful brand. Hyperbolic? Sure. But it’s also true.
4. Increase transparency within the organization.
It’s as true in business relationships as it is with personal ones: Openness and honesty are two necessary pillars for sustainable success. Secrets don’t make friends, especially when groups of people are expected to trust one another in the pursuit of business success. Leaders must let their employees know the good, bad, and ugly of daily operations.
Particularly in a hybrid or remote environment, building a culture of trust and transparency will boost morale and inspire team members to work hard. Encourage everyone to share ideas and provide feedback about company decisions. The sailing is smoother when everyone is rowing in the same direction.
Best of all, the inevitable waves of disruption won’t rock the boat so much when your teams display the resilient traits you’ve helped them acquire.