The last 18 months has been grueling. For staff, front line workers and leaders. We have seen employees move to different companies and different careers, with hopes it will be different. Maybe so, but unlikely.
Here are 5 tips to focus forward as we drag the 800 pound pandemic gorilla across the finish line.
- List your accomplishments
Make a list of your accomplishments and those of your team, over the past 18 months. If you’re still standing, chances are, there have been significant changes to your business. Review each achievement and employ the 20 idea methodology to improve on each one.
- Employ a 20 idea methodology.
This technique was introduced by Brian Tracy years ago. It was ground-breaking and retains it’s creative power today. Record 20 ideas to improve on each one of your accomplishments and select one idea to act upon. The first 6 ideas will come easily. The next six will take some work. The final 8 will be like draining water from a stone. But those final 8 will be where brilliance lies. This is important because you will create countless solutions to improve your business in a world where the average person struggles to create one.
- Focus on your team
Your team has been through hell and back. Everyone has dealt with some kind of personal struggle and sacrifice. Working from home, when home is a 500 square foot condo….with no balcony….on the 35th Fear of returning to the office. Fear of not returning to the office. Home schooling children. Accessing aging parents in long term care facilities. Visiting loved ones in hospital. Illness and death. Your team deserves some forward focus. Check in with each of them. As deep in the organization as your can. Ask what’s on their mind. What are their concerns and what do they see in the future? Seek their thoughts. People never cease to amaze me with their resourcefulness and resilience.
I am reminded of a quote from best selling author, David Weiss as he sat with a group of leaders. He posed the question: “Do you think”? Then came the zinger. “Do you think about how you think”? No one had an answer. Over the past 18 months, leaders have been relentlessly focused on the now. We haven’t taken time to focus on the next. We are close to the COVID finish line. It’s time to look up and regain sight of the horizon. Leaders need time to think, ponder, dream and conceptualize. It’s when you set your mind free, you will create the great ideas. There is no “right” time to think. Turn off your phone, mute your computer, shut the door and let your mind wander and breathe.
- Give yourself a break
Leaders are consumed with challenges. Strategic planning, ongoing business, customers and staff. We are so very busy worrying about others and asking how they are, we forget to check in with ourselves. Whoever created the adage, It’s lonely at the top, underestimated how really lonely it is at times. Perhaps every decision you made during COVID, wasn’t the perfect one. But, you made the decision and if it wasn’t the right one, you made another one. Give yourself some credit. It’s been a time of unchartered waters and you survived. Maybe even flourished. An anonymous philosopher said, “anyone can be a leader in good times. It’s takes a real champion to lead through the difficult ones”. And this “one” has been a challenge of historic proportion.