CEOs Are Saying: ‘The Adrenaline Rush Is Over, Now What?’

skydivers jumping
c. myers corporation

3 minutes

Seven things to consider as you find a sustainable way to navigate the continuing COVID-19 crisis

Reprinted with permission from the c. myers blog.

“My team is exhausted. I am exhausted. What do I need to do to keep myself and my team going in a way that is sustainable?” This is what we have been hearing from many leaders within the last couple of weeks.

Keeping your people up and running is equally important, if not more important, as it is to keep your technology up and running.

While many people are adjusting quickly, there are enough people who are not. It is important for leadership to address this reality head-on—whether it is what they are hearing from their employees or how leaders are feeling themselves.

  • I am working harder now than I ever did.
  • I don’t know how to step away from my computer.
  • I miss people.
  • I am overwhelmed with how many people are suffering in the world.
  • I can’t believe this is happening.
  • I feel like I am in a bad dream and I can’t wake up.
  • I feel guilty because my kids are a distraction.

While we could write extensively on this topic, we know your time is limited, so we offer these seven things to consider while navigating through this:

1. Reflect on how well you and your team transformed. What did you and your team successfully do to rally so swiftly around transforming your work environment? Keep those learnings at your fingertips.

2. Apply learnings with relentless fervor. Why not take the keys to success in crisis mode and rally around one or two strategic initiatives that move the business forward, regardless of what may happen next? No doubt, this can provide a strong sense of focus and purpose.

3. Be specific and don’t make stuff up. Make sure all employees know specifically how they are personally contributing to the credit union’s success every day. If a person is not contributing at the required level, have a conversation and be specific as to what is needed. If there were marginal performers before these events, their lack of performance will surely be felt in a remote environment. This can quickly demotivate the good performers who may be mentally exhausted and/or under tremendous personal stress. You do not want to risk losing them.

4. Invest time to teach. Have senior leadership share tips with broader management to assess how employees are doing in a remote environment. Teach managers specific questions they can ask to gain a better understanding of what the employee is feeling and experiencing. Teach them to listen for what is not being said. Answers like, “I’m OK,” or “I’m fine,” can signal a bigger issue.

5. Ask four simple questions. When you ask these, require specificity in employees’ answers. The only way leaders can help is if they have a good grasp on the issues the employee is facing.

  • What worked for you today or this week?
  • What do you wish was different?
  • What do you need from me? (If they say nothing, then ask, “What should I keep doing?”)
  • What are you doing for yourself to help you be engaged and feel successful in this environment?

6. Embrace the power of video calls. Initially, people may be shy about being on camera. Have fun with it to get over this hump to make video calls a way of life. Remote working could go on for a very long time. Much can be lost or misinterpreted in text, chat, phone calls and email, and not all employee interactions will be in a positive light. The need for tough conversations regarding performance and course corrections will continue. If video is a habit now, it won’t add stress to what is already a nerve-racking conversation for all parties involved.

7. Apply the Lombardi time rule to communication. Over-communication is the standard, standard communication is inadequate. This is terrific advice. So many people say they are mentally exhausted, lonely, distracted and overwhelmed. While it may feel like a waste of time to be specific and go for clarity—guaranteed, it will actually save time, reduce confusion and ultimately frustration for leaders, employees and members.

We hope these seven considerations help you help your people stay motivated. 

c. myers corporation has partnered with credit unions since 1991. The company’s philosophy is based on helping clients ask the right, and often tough, questions in order to create a solid foundation that links strategy and desired financial performance. c. myers has the experience of working with over 550 credit unions, including 50% of those over $1 billion in assets and about 25% over $100 million. They help credit unions think to differentiate and drive better decisions through real-time ALM decision informationCECL consultingfinancial forecasting and consultingliquidity servicesstrategic planningstrategic leadership developmentprocess improvement, and project management.

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