What to do?
What to do?
What Can You Be Doing Now To Do Better Later?
By Bud Carter
You’ve heard it too many times: we’re in uncharted waters.
Nothing like the Great Depression your grandparents endured. Certainly different from the collapse created by the restructuring of monetary policy in 1991 that your parents suffered through. No comparison at all to the 1998 dot com bust that shook the market, or to the terrible shock waves in 2001 when hijacked airliners turned skyscraper into piles of rubble. Nor does today’s coronavirus pandemic parallel, in any way, the economic downturn you slugged your way through starting 12 to 13 years ago
Uncharted waters. Nothing in our history with which to compare. What to do?
If you’re among the millions now relegated to trying to keep the kids in line, the dog from barking while you’re working from home, you’ve been given more good advice, more well-meaning counsel than is needed or can be remembered. Everything remember to exercise and schedule your day, to create a workday mindset by dressing as if you were going to the office and drink a lot of water.
All good, I guess… but not very helpful if your goal is to look beyond the current crisis and assure personal success once we come out the other side… and we will. That said (written), why not use this unspecified period of ambiguity for some calculated plotting and planning for the days ahead? What can you be doing now to do better later?
If you are working for someone else (and most of us are and do), what can you being doing now that makes you more valuable to your employer later? Helps them make more money, and you, presumably, as well? One suggestion that transcends roles is Communication (note capitalization). During times like these (broadcaster Paul Harvey is quoted in Great Quotes for Great Businesses as saying, “In times like this it’s important to remember that there’ve always been times like these,” but Paul isn’t around now to learn “the rest of the story.” These times are truly ublike any other..
Communicate. When was the last time you phoned or Skyped a co-worker, superior or subordinate? Checked in with a client or a prospect? Not to push a product, not to ask for an order, but just to say, “thinking about you; are you and the family OK?” Those are the kind of things people remember. They’ll recall that you didn’t have an “ask,” didn’t try to sell them anything, just called to see how they were doing. Golden.
What’s the message to your boss or your team? Answer: That you care. That you value them. That you’re part of the team. Cost? Zero, zip, nothing but a few minutes – an investment that will produce a real return.
More? What else can you do? How about sharing articles you find of interest and believe they (whoever ‘they’ may be) will also find interesting. Doing so, sending an article, sends a message beyond the actual content: that you were thinking about them, saw something you thought they would find of value, took the time to send it - preferably by mail for greatest impact.
Your boss, your people, whatever the case, are looking at you, checking out, analyzing virtually everything you say and do, and, if you’re teleconferencing… how you come across during the call, if there’s a positive or negative tone to your emails, your telephone conversations. You are “on” any time, all the time, you’re in contact with your boss, your employees, your customers, your prospects, your vendors – all that apply. Think about it; aren’t we almost always ‘sizing up new people we meet, making instantaneous judgements?
Team leader? Division head? President or CEO? More is expected, if not required.
Famed Boston based business coach Michael Allosso preaches that, “it’s showtime” when you walk through the door – regardless whether that door leads to a client’s office or your company’s. People are watching and making judgements. Did you make eye contact? Smile? Greet them? Firm handshake (remember those?) or the limp, proverbial, dead fish? We all know the basics of body language and are constantly passing judgement on others (as they do us) whether we stop to think about it or not.
Atlanta’s Patti Wood, is a nationally known body language expert, who has been seen on virtually every network news program and quoted in major newspapers across the country. She contends that studies show most people form an opinion of the person they are meeting, not in days, hours, or minutes but in nanoseconds. It’s how you carry yourself. The message your presence sends. Think about it; how many times have you met someone and even before walking away, formed an opinion, positive or negative?
There is one other key point that too many will miss: what can we be thinking about now, planning, perhaps even doing, during this enforced crisis that will make us and/or our company stronger once we emerge from all this? Bud Mingledorff, Chairman of the nation’s largest Carrier distributorship headquartered in Atlanta, said, “when there’s a crisis, your competition becomes vulnerable – it’s a time for you to blitz their best people – and with them comes business.” If you’re on a winning team, chances are you’ve heard from competitors who’d like to lure you to their payroll. If you’re in a hiring position at your company, there is no better time than during this time of uncertainty, to tout your company’s success and stability, and start recruiting other company’s all-stars for your roster.
What to do? A lot. And as Nike says, “do it.”
-Bud Carter, author of Great Quotes for Great Businesses