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How to manage your team
in times of crisis
As you all are aware, the near-term economic future of every business is unsure for the time being, especially for small businesses. COVID-19, a string of corona viruses, has until now scarcely documented effects on the human body, resulting in fear and disregard simultaneously within the global population. The virus is an underestimated threat not only for human beings in certain conditions, but for businesses alike.
You never know what will happen in the near future. Mapping out contingency plans is one way to go. The truth is, we are no fortune tellers and cannot predict ours or our company’s future. Therefore we need to take a stance with strong roots and vast flexibility to be able to react to anything thrown at our enterprises, at any time.
As is happening in many countries, an overall lock-up might be the only solution to contain the virus from spreading and infecting people. We all must work to reduce overall risk to our people. But this might mean a low blow to the economy and our businesses. Managing risk is always part of our daily business life, but not all are prepared for times of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their business up and running, and to protect their colleagues from any harm.
A predefined structure
Having a predefined overhead structure is needed. The better it is outlined, the better the communication flow works (even when Home Office is recommended or mandatory). The structure and hierarchy must be built not to collapse or turn into a hot mess in times of crisis.
Oversight is one of the most important tools in selling software globally. Therefore, the bigger the project = the more people will be involved = the better the oversight needs to be. Provide teams with a dedicated team lead and internally shared trainers. If the project surpasses a certain level, trainers need to be attached exclusively to sustain an ongoing development process and an aligned strategy. Then the revenue delivery force has a clear structure of command and support. This enables a solid service delivery that reacts faster on strategy adaption within changing markets and crisis situations.
Process of management
An outlined process gives your sales force a line to follow and strive towards. Working with KPIs and targets is one thing, but more importantly is maintaining an exceptional level of sales quality, especially in times of crisis.
The manager needs to coach calls on a daily basis, do forecasting and provide an overall communication with the team to be able to report back to the Global Sales Delivery Manager, who then reports back to the client. But the most important outcome is: everybody onboard a project knows what there is to do, especially when quarantine is needed. The communication level is and stays on a high level to provide mandatory feedback and move forward on stable ground, even when times are unclear.
The personal approach
In times of crisis there is fear to go around. This is a common and very normal reaction to unknown or scarcely documented threats, such as COVID-19. The personal approach of the manager is then the most important thing to keep the engine running. Motivation of your staff is paramount, but so is support.
Ask your staff what your team personally needs. Help them see you care about them, not just the business. Give them well-decided leadership and they will follow you. Help them see that there is a common goal to reach: keep the business running, so people will come back to normal state where it paused before the crisis.
Ensure team building
Finding a common purpose will unite a team instantly. Achieving the project’s goal is very often a great point to start from. In times of crisis make unity your common goal. Let your team know we work for a prosperous future and will return. Treat mistakes as opportunities for personal and professional growth of yourself and your team members. It is very important to understand the individual needs and strengths of your team members to make them a reliable force in gaining the stability needed.
Weekly formal meetings give you the possibility to ensure the forwarding of figures and numbers from the delivery team to keep the team and the client fully engaged and prepared. This is a crucial part of transparency, which in the end provides a nurturing ground for a great partnership. To sustain the personal approach it is also advisable to have daily informal calls to support your staff and provide a family-based culture in an uncertain environment.
Equally important to verbal communication is the digital communication. Real-time sharing of internal company data digitally means, having all important data in one view, to map out counter measurements and spot potential endangerments to your business.
Gain leadership by watching metrics
A leader’s most significant mission is to manage workforces. Caring about your team requires key pursuits, which are mostly invisible for them at first glance. One of these is observing the current situation on the market and clients’ behavior meticulously, to be able to align contemporary needs within your team’s workload and maybe even relocate workforce to maximize efficiency and minimize losses.
The second is collecting data about availability of your workforce. You need to observe your workforce’s capacity. How many are forced to care for their loved ones or even how many people are unable to work from home or do work from home. These metrics are crucial to help upper management and business analysts to assess the uncertain situation and deduce strategic decisions, which might help to run your business smoothly during, but as well after a governmentally imposed quarantine.
Flexible strategy policy
Changing strategy is a common thing in conducting business, especially in sales. This often includes, multi-location strategies as a lever to manage risk. With the Engine we have measures in place to allow our staff the opportunity to stay safe and still keep up the great work. Flexibility allows us to provide the same amount of management attention needed to persevere a crisis.
If you do not have a backbone in place like our Engine, start small, ensure communication, keep the personal approach and build a team spirit. Because if we look at history, we see one huge advantage against threats of any kind: Unity within a system. This is why governments provide perseverance packages for companies at risk.
Unity gives us in times of crisis the advantage to strive forward. It enables flexibility to react fast but as well the strength to stand fast. Then you will have a very good chance to sustain your productivity while facing any threat, may it be economical, political or pandemical.