We are entering unknown territory. The Government’s new measures will only delay and perhaps reduce the spread of COVID-19. The OECD thinks we could see global growth cut in half. They call it the ‘gravest threat’ to the global economy since the financial crisis of 2008. The question is, when should we stop people gathering for sport or work? Every sensible business is now contingency planning for the worst-case scenario. CEOs and HR Directors are worrying over how to ensure the wellbeing of their employees while trying to keep their businesses running smoothly.

Black Isle Group has spoken to several leaders who are increasingly anxious about how they should respond personally to such a fast developing and unprecedented situation.

Leading in a crisis requires different behaviours than leading in the good times.

Here are our top tips ….

  1. Focus on what is within your sphere of control and influence. Don’t wait for any further clarity from Government as it may not come.
  2. Communicate, communicate and communicate to employees, customers and stakeholders; but don’t think information makes people informed. Context and tone is everything.
  3. Consider worst case scenarios and how you would respond.
  4. Show care and compassion to your employees. What you do in a crisis can create powerful bonds or bad feelings which may never wash away.
  5. More skills and resource may be needed. Ensure you have the right team pulled together to tackle the issues you face. Don’t just go with the team you’ve got.
  6. Be visible. Walk the shop floor. Talk to the people. Reassure. They will be watching you and their mood will mirror your behaviour.
  7. Be ready for phase two. Remember, in the first phase of a crisis people tend to respond well. But when the first phase is over people tire and bad judgements are made.
  8. Prepare to respond. Events will change at a considerable pace. Go on evidence. Don’t be swayed by hype and myths.
  9. Remember your duty as a wider corporate citizen. If your business can help the wider community, not only is it the right thing to do but it will be hugely appreciated.
  10. Monitor your own energy, stress levels and reactions. You need to keep in good shape to lead your business and your people through whatever will happen next.

At Black Isle Group, we have been advising several clients and leaders on how they should deal with this unprecedented situation. If you would value our advice or help, get in touch via jeremy@blackislegroup.com or atholl@blackislegroup.com we’d love to help!

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