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Leading During a Crisis

Pam Kirchner

With our primary offices located in South Florida, much of our disaster preparedness has centered around summer storms and hurricanes. We certainly had not given an equal amount of attention to preparing for a pandemic.

These last few months have been challenging to say the least however, as an organization, we have managed to find some silver linings and I, personally, have learned some valuable lessons.

Never has the power of transparent communication been so clear to me

Communicate often, be sincere, be consistent, and carry out promises. Instill confidence, ease fears, and communicate action plans even when you do not have all the answers. Team members need it, deserve it, and sincerely appreciate it. Transparent communication is the bridge for building trust throughout our organizations.

Innovation is often born out of necessity

Create and maintain a culture that celebrates ideation. Do not allow fear, uncertainty, and doubt to stand in the way of transformation and progress. I’ve always known our organization employs some superstars but to see what’s possible when the barriers to innovation are removed has been incredible and resulted in the rapid development of a dynamic work from home program with exceptional resources and tools for connectivity and collaboration.

Adaptable people are resilient people

An unforeseen event has altered our business and life plans. Hospitals at capacity, schools shut down, special events cancelled, inventory shortages, cities under lockdown and signs that the way society functions will permanently change. When confronted with such challenges, leaders must be decisive in implementing change and motivate those we lead to embrace change as this crisis is sure to continue to trigger drastic alterations in our businesses and personal lifestyles going forward.

This is a tough time of uncertainty, unrest, and uneasiness. It is our duty as leaders to assist others in recognizing bright spots and opportunities in this pandemic, celebrate them, and use them as encouragement and inspiration.

I recently asked our team members to share an opportunity they have experienced because of the pandemic. Many of the stories have similar themes involving more time to enjoy the simple things in life like gardening and appreciating nature, more quality time spent with family and friends, appreciation for health and family, opportunity to reflect and reconsider, and the flexibility to work from home.

There is no doubt the coronavirus crisis is creating challenges but it’s also creating tremendous opportunity. Embrace the opportunity to lead.


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