By Martin Royal
I wrote about what sets apart effective change leaders in a previous blog post, namely their ability to frame the change effort and building the capacity of the team to implement and sustain the change. For the most part, this assumes that leaders are engaged in a planned, thoughtful and deliberate change effort. Sometimes, the change effort is not so deliberate and comes knocking at our door unexpectedly.
COVID-19 has driven many leaders into a crisis mode and into an involuntary change effort, that many are unprepared for. Whether it is a planned or unplanned crisis, the fundamentals to lead people through the change are similar. Here are two science-backed advice to help your team cope with the crisis and manage the changes successfully.
Help Frame the Crisis
How will you frame the crisis through a vision of the journey ahead and the steps to achieve it?
Framing the crisis might be meant to redefine how the work environment will be re-organized (e.g. more remote work) or even redefining how the customers will be provided with your services or products (e.g. some restaurants in my areas are now offering curbside pick-up or free delivery to maintain service to their clientele). Framing can be an opportunity to engage your team in designing their new reality and environment.
You can best handle the framing of the crisis by creating a task committee that includes various stakeholders who can represent the voice of various groups in your organization and can be in a better position to frame the expected changes to their respective teams.
Build Crisis Management Capacity
How will you build the capacity of your team to implement the changes that are necessary?
Building your team's capacity to handle the change means looking into the knowledge, skills and mindset necessary to cope with the new work reality. Working from home may require employees to become proficient with virtual meeting technology, learning to cope with family demands and even just dealing with the solitary work environment.
One simple way to explore the capacity of your team for change is to first identify the knowledge, skills and mindsets needed to perform the new work and, second, discuss with those affected what resources they will need to be successful.
We're here to help, if you'd like to brainstorm ideas on how your organization can best approach the COVID-19 crisis, get in touch with a member of the Propulo Team!