“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Or maybe it should say the tough KEEP going. An old saying but true. This quote has been attributed to both John F. Kennedy’s father and legendary football coach Knute Rockne.
The quote has always had a special meaning, and especially now, when leading and managing your business during volatile and uncertain times, you find yourself continually faced with new challenges. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go it alone and you shouldn’t. CEOs are expected to show calm and optimism at the same time. Everyone wants us to demonstrate empathy—and, at the same time, be highly engaged and fact-based in our actions. We are supposed to not only have a perfect long-term view but also be agile in the midst of the storms we all continually face. The COVID-19 crisis is a once-in-a-century event, and no training or experience in previous downturns has prepared CEOs for it.
1. Get Other Perspectives
If you are part of a CEO group, you will be getting other leader’s views on your situation, and they can provide an outside perspective you wouldn’t necessarily be able to see. You will gain exposure to new ideas, new approaches, and have a solid sounding board – that has your best interest at heart.
2. Enjoy Some Comradarie and Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
Start with your own feelings. It’s vital that you are demonstrating empathy, but now YOU need to be open to compassion from others. Find ways to continue to stay inspired. Think of one thing each day that you are grateful for. To avoid burnout, look for energy boosters– maybe it’s an early-afternoon call with a dear friend – or a person from your CEO group. Prepare for the tough meetings or calls by taking a walk. Exercise is a tested and proven way to restore energy; you could plan sports at home or around the office during your lunch break a few times a week. One CEO stopped holding Friday afternoon meetings to enable everyone to catch their breath.
3. Steps 1 & 2 will Enable you to Be a Better Supporter to Your Employees and Your Clients
Being and staying isolated has had unintended consequences. According to an article in Harvard Business Review, business leaders are focused on the here and now of the COVID-19 pandemic and justifiably so. However, there’s a looming second-order mental health crisis that is only beginning to emerge as a result of global quarantines and a massive, sudden shift to working from home. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 75% of people say they feel more socially isolated, 67% of people report higher stress, 57% are feeling greater anxiety, and 53% say they feel more emotionally exhausted. Those numbers are from a global study of over 2,700 employees across more than ten industries undertaken by Qualtrics and SAP during March and April of 2020.
As a CEO, you need to be sure to ask both employees and clients how they are doing. Connect with your team regularly. And have your managers do the same, both with their staff and with their clients.
What is the End Benefit to These Ideas?
Your employees and their teams will see your resilience and will mirror it. Your strength will help sustain your future. Your strength and stability will support your clients.