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A Sign of Panic

By Joey Havens

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Entering the restroom, my eyes are immediately locked on this image and I can’t stop staring at it. This visual is cemented in my mind, and I walk out of the restroom with a new realization: we are officially in panic mode. It is showing up in different ways, but it is showing up in everything we are doing and experiencing.

From the restroom to the boardroom, we all have a new normal and we are demonstrating strange behaviors. The image from the bathroom is one of scarcity and a sign of leadership based on fear. Fear is contagious and creates pandemic panic. This scarcity mindset and the fear of everything collapsing is our biggest threat — bigger than COVID-19. 

What worries me as a leader of a large organization is that our craving for the status quo of two months ago, or last year, can cause us to cling to legacy thinking. It is limiting our ability to see the opportunities that also come with a new normal. These emotions can override logic, as we shared a few weeks ago. 

Daniel Burrus wrote in a recent article on uncertain times, “COVID-19 is not our biggest problem, it’s what we are doing or not doing about it.”

In a recent social media post, I raised the question — what will our clients say about us one year after this pandemic? What are we doing right now to be distinctive and impactful in the new normal?  

I challenge you to work through answering these questions that might help us be distinctive, sustain growth and relevance as we move forward:  

  1. What new opportunities have we identified that we are mobilizing around NOW? Every problem offers an opportunity.
  2. What outsourcing opportunities can we provide to the market? We have the platforms and the automation is here. 
  3. How will we leverage remote working, collaboration and access for new relevance? Digital transformation just leapfrogged us forward, and people won’t be going backward.
  4. How will we demonstrate generosity when others are squeezing the orange? Generosity is rare and distinctive. People remember.  
  5. How will we capture the worth of our services and impact in new and creative ways? Expensive and internally focused timekeeping methods are rooted in legacy thinking and will not move us forward in our new normal.
  6. How will we connect with our clients and prospects when they are overrun with complexity, communication and information? If we look like everyone else, and communicate like everyone else, we are invisible.  
  7. What do we have padlocked in our legacy systems of providing client service that limits our ability to generate a WOW client experience? For example, are we managing our client work focused on deadlines or client expectations? Turnaround time or deadlines?

Will this COVID-19 pandemic make us stronger or just scarcity crazy? By the way, do you have an extra roll?