The crisis has caught us all off guard – how can you plan for a pandemic?
Well in a previous life I did just that. I wrote, developed and tested continuity plans, and yes we developed scenarios for pandemics. It feels like a lifetime ago… but it really wasn’t.
So what principles did we use that we can learn from and apply to our businesses right now?
The one transferable skill, transferable knowledge is this…. Keep your key people around you. Keep your team tight. You need them now more than ever, and working with them now will stand you in good stead when the world has stabilised and we’ve all come out the other side.
I know your immediate reaction is to cut everyone out to dramatically reduce your outgoings – that’s what everyone says. But instead consider this….assess what skills and support you need. Talk to your team, check in with them about what they want, what they need and what and how they are willing to do to continue to support you.
Reaffirm your sense of team – remember there is no I in team! Corny I know but true!
A business continuity plan includes key personnel roles and responsibilities.
It’s so important to keep a great team around us. Our people, our squad, our tribe – whatever you call them – they are your peeps. So who are your key people, who are your A team? Who support you to run your business and what responsibilities do they have? What they do that you don’t even see?
In my previous corporate life I was the COO, the Operations Director of some huge businesses. Multi million ££ businesses – I was the one in the background, I kept the lights on and the wheels turning. Who are these people in your business – the unsung heroes? The ones who just get on it it without needing the limelight and centre stage.
So who are your back office people and how can you retain their knowledge, their skills and their goodwill?
Cutting out your key people at short notice with no negotiation screams of panic and poor leadership. Do you really think they’ll be back when the business returns? I don’t think so!
So carefully consider who are your suppliers and how you want to work with them now and in the future..
Most of us don’t like change, but what we really react badly to is lack of choice. Being “done to” feels crap no matter how you position and wrap it up.
Most people have triggers around money and security – it’s totally normal. When these are challenged behaviours change. So talk about money and discuss different ways to remunerate your key players, your team, get creative about how to pay and when.
Above all keep talking, keep consulting, keep negotiating with your key people to support your business continuity, so you have a business to come back to.