Business

How to be COVID productive

Dec. 17. Cheryl Kane. Selling is both an art and an exacting science. High performers know just how good they can be by leveraging their strengths. High achievers know how good they can become and work diligently to reach their peak capacity. Then our global pandemic hit us hard and seems to be holding us down, keeping us from being able to be our best. Is this true, or not? Forward-thinking people use time well whenever they find it.  Don’t let COVID-19 make you unproductive.

Are the barriers caused by the pandemic insurmountable, or are they scalable? Are some of the barriers we face perhaps a bit of each of these?   Aren’t the critical issues:

a.  how we frame the situation,

b.  whether we decide to sit and wait for barriers to be removed, or act to find a way around them,

c.  shouldn’t we be busy building paths over top of, underneath of, or around the barrier,

d.  or, should this valuable time be used to develop new skills, processes, and creative ways to do business-when the barrier has been removed?

Don’t change who you are

Despite the challenges, there is no reason to change who we are: Productive and forward looking. We certainly must change how we do things, but if we want to come out on the other side of this elongated event with our strength intact, we need to be true to our values today, and we must look forward and make good use of this time.

Companies that are trying to continue all business functions online or in modified circumstances as if nothing had changed, are wearing out their staff. Some things have moved online and some functions have been modified. But all of this change makes everything take longer—a normal set of tasks requires a much longer cycle time than usual, especially relationship-building processes.

Some products or functions may simply need to temporarily be reduced, slowed down, or streamlined so you can maintain overall product and service quality and integrity.

Innovate, plan, brainstorm

Some companies have taken this disrupted time to speed up strategic plans they had set for 1-3 years out. They are finding that today is the right time to innovate, train and plan forward. There are fewer distractions given slower current sales or administrative activities. If you have been a diligent leader and have a strategic plan, pull out the implementation plan and see if you can speed it up post-COVID, or, if you will need to change it entirely. Start generating alternatives now, so when the time is right, you can have the updated plan ready to go.

Some organizations have found a time of fewer distractions offers incredibly rich creative time for brainstorming, critical analysis unfettered by competing demands, and uninterrupted deep thinking about processes that need improving.  Get your team together and collect the creative insight of your team, now.

It’s also a good time to shine a light on problems you repeatedly have had to solve. Call on the team to analyze it together. With the ability to have more flexibility during a normal day, virtual meetings with productive agendas can lead to meaningful collaborative problem solving between departments in real-time vs. over several months.

•••

Yes, it is a challenging time. And yes, it may also be a highly useful time.  You choose—which will it be for you?

Cheryl Kane

Cheryl Kane, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, & professional speaker specializing in problem solving and service quality. Cheryl welcomes your communication at email: Cheryl.Kane@alumni.duke.edu

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