By Tim Richardson
During these difficult times, your practice has no doubt been impacted by COVID-19. Calming customers has likely involved a large percentage of your time. While that is vitally important, it’s also important to lead well in your practice. Below are some suggestions to consider:
Reassure your staff – For younger workers, this may be the first experience that they have had with a crisis with far-reaching impact. Relating stories of overcoming past experiences like 9/11 or Y2K may be useful in helping to mitigate some of the unhealthy fear that can paralyze performance. We have been through difficult situations before and have survived. We will get past this and thrive again.
Remain calm – In challenging times, it is critical for leaders to be rational and to help create composed workplaces. Panic driven behavior helps no one. Eliminate any communication that is critical or hype inducing. Whether you believe that some of the responses are over cautious or believe that we aren’t taking enough action, your steady example matters.
Be flexible – Now is not the time for strict adherence to rules. If telecommuting is an option, help make that happen. Offer flexible hours, shared job responsibilities, and use services like Zoom to replace face to face meetings in the short term. Help your staff and your customers navigate through these challenging times by being easy.
Invest in your people – When workflow is slowed, people are likely going to use the extra time in non-productive ways. Why not take this time to contribute to their professional development? Offer additional training for their professional licenses, help them obtain industry designations, increase training(on-line or in small groups), watch Ted Talks as a team, initiate job shadowing, or read a book together.
Institute daily huddles – Encourage communication flow whether in person or electronically. Make sure that accurate information is being shared and take time to thoughtfully answer questions and express empathy for concerns that are expressed.
Communicate with your customers – Make sure every customer receives a phone call and/or an email to express appreciation for their patronage. Share market updates and investment success strategies from past market downturns. Obviously, share information with your customers about any changes in your business (policies, staffing, hours of operations, etc.). Don’t have them find out that you have reduced office hours when they show up and no one is in the office.
Anticipate how national or global changes will affect your practice – Spending some proactive thinking time about “what if’s” could better prepare your practice to ride out this crisis and future ones as well.
Create or update your safety procedures – Create a task force to examine or re-evaluate policies to ensure the safety and well-being of your team.
Invest in your community – Think about ways your practice can support others. Encouraging buying local. Plan events that encourage volunteerism. Rally around a cause that helps the health and well-being of others.
Technology assessment – Review your current technology needs. Encourage data backups and software updates.
We are resilient and will at some point return to a more normal place. In the meantime, do your part to keep you and your practice working optimally, your staff supported and your customers informed.
Tim Richardson is a professional trainer and speaker focusing on customer service, sales, leadership and peak performance. Tim may be contacted at [email protected].
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