See through the crisis: alignment of effort

people-having-a-discussion

See Through The Crisis – Temporall Techniques #2

If any lesson can be taken from the pandemic, it is that people still remain critical in almost every facet of society. The human component of organisational resilience is therefore essential in determining whether the business can react quickly in times of crisis – but it has been a weak point for many organisations.

Communication is key to crisis management

Through our work helping leading organisations and consultancies to improve their resilience (you can read about our Organisational Resilience Index here), it’s clear that many leaders struggle to align the efforts of their teams. When feeling the pressure to make decisions at speed, even when the strategy is right, too often communications with the workforce are not.

Truly effective resilience strategies rely on principles of connection and support. As we outlined in Temporall Techniques #1, leaders need absolute clarity on what success and failure look like. In turn, delegation must be underpinned by transparent goal setting, clear communications and ongoing feedback. Juggling the role of strategic leader and tactical director is intensely draining on leadership, and so trust in others is a prerequisite of success.

In fast-changing situations, teams must have the capacity and freedom to improvise. Without this permission, it’s impossible for them to adapt, act quickly and perform under pressure.

Showing trust in your team through communication

When we work with organisations to improve their resilience, a common challenge that emerges is the accessibility of senior management. In times of stress, leadership must be visible and feel connected to the business. This can seem distracting when revenue is curtailed, or the very survival of the organisation hangs in the balance. But resilience relies on the efforts of the whole business being aligned. Five simple considerations can redefine how effective your communications are during a crisis:

Ability to convey purpose

Reiteration of the core values of the organisation, and how these apply to the evolving scenario, should be a core part of your communications strategy. It should happen often, and also be shared through line management channels.

Inspiring communications

Employees will tend to look to their leaders for reassurance. But reassurance is needed beyond just their immediate job security. We have seen organisations that satisfy the short term needs of their teams, but fail to motivate them with a strategy for the return to ‘normal’. Employee surveys have revealed that this future vision is invaluable when battling uncertainty.

Living core values

Visibility and authenticity are required of leaders at almost all times. When employees feel pressured and stressed, it’s easy for them to abandon the core values of the business. After all, if they don’t see you staying true to them, why should they? So remember to practice what you preach.

Correct systems and tools in place

Although an apparently tactical concern, taking the time to understand what your team need to do their jobs helps show empathy. This has been very apparent throughout the pandemic lockdown, where remote working provisions have not been universally effective. Although the majority of employees may not understand the pressure that exists in the boardroom, you nonetheless need to understand their challenges, and show that the business is ready to answer them.

Supportive organisational culture

Ultimately your internal crisis communications must leave people feeling supported and motivated. From the CEO through the C-suite, down through upper and middle management, communicate and then deliver upon the right behaviours. This coherence forms the backbone of your crisis response. After all, any resilience strategy is only as good as performance of the people who have a role in it.

Coming next in the series…

In Temporall Techniques #3 we explore the value of continuous insights as you manage your organisations through any period of challenge or change.

Contact us to see how our AI-driven, collaboration analytics platform can help you drive better business outcomes.

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