Uncertainty breeds fear. And business leaders in the wake of a pandemic face plenty of uncertainty. Three recurring fears leaders face, while not exclusively caused by COVID are certainly heightened by it.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FEAR
When you break down what fear is, you’ll see it’s simply the anticipation of a negative outcome.
Simply put, fear is a projection of what can go wrong. It’s future casting gone horribly wrong.
While it’s a smart practice to prepare for outcomes that are the opposite of what you project, expecting negative outcomes 100% of the time isn’t a healthy way for you to do it.
Because in a fear state, you stunt your ability to grow and evolve as a business, let alone function in a way that supports your survival.
Fear causes you as a leader to hesitate. It leads you to be tentative and operate with extreme caution. Essentially, it’s a distraction from your forward momentum.
These are the three fears leaders face most often as they’ve returned to “business as usual” in a most unusual post-pandemic work environment.
HOW WILL THIS BUSINESS SURVIVE?
The uncertainty you’re trying to sort out here is two-fold.
First, will you have something to offer to your usual customers or clients that they consider a necessity and are thus willing to pay for it?
The second consideration is if the economy will continue to support your usual prices based on your customers’ discretionary cash flow.
When times of recession hit, there’s often a race to the bottom in pricing to capture the little money that’s out in circulation. The question now becomes, is it financially feasible for your company to take a short-term loss to keep customers coming through your doors?
To combat this fear, calculate your average client value. If you see a drop in sales, consider offering your product or service for a set period of time at a lower rate as an incentive to get your loyal customers back through your doors.
Alternatively, consider how you can add value and overdeliver on a product or service sale in a way that requires you to invest a little extra time in lieu of capital.
HOW WILL I RETAIN TOP EMPLOYEES?
Provided you’re still in a position to charge your usual and customary fees for your product or service, this becomes less of a concern.
However, if you have to make tough choices on who you can afford to keep and who you’ll have to furlough due to a slow down in sales, this becomes your biggest fear.
Without customers, you have no business. But, without the best of the best on your team serving your customers, you’ll lose business.
Bear in mind that due to other businesses closing, there are a plethora of highly skilled and qualified people who are looking for work. In the event you lose a key team member, you may be able to find a suitable replacement for a lesser cost.
HOW WILL I MEET THE GOALS PLACED UPON ME AS A LEADER?
Suffice it to say for the year 2020, many projections, sales goals, and growth and scale activities are on the sidelines.
That said, many businesses have successfully made big pivots and find themselves in a better position for growth than before.
As a leader, the best thing you can do to overcome this fear is to remain agile, flexible, and ahead of the curve. Think like an innovator. Remain solution-oriented instead of problem-focused.
When the tide turns, turn with it.
MINIMIZE POST-PANDEMIC FEARS AND THRIVE
To ride the wave of common post-pandemic fears in your business requires reframing.
First, understand fear is a future-based assumption that your business is headed for defeat. Think about how to flip that thought into what you can do to make your business more agile.
Your business can survive if you nurture your relationships with your customers and your team. Build goodwill. Work with both groups to deliver the wins they need so you can stay afloat.
And most importantly as a leader, focus on the present moment. Exercise good judgment and take action on the things within your control to stay on track. Pivot when necessary, and remain open to what is possible.
Schedule a free strategy session with me if you or your team could use some help in the reframing department.