In 2020, everything changed, testing the resilience of executives and companies. The surviving organizations were the ones that could turn around quickly. But when an event like a pandemic occurs, disbelief and inaction can be a natural immediate response.
How can you and your team move forward when everything in your business is disrupted? Instead of feeling paralyzed and full of excuses, sustainability finds a way over, under, around or through an obstacle. To survive, you must redefine “possible”.
The thought of making such a significant turn can feel scary, especially if you feel stressed and overwhelmed. To move forward, you and your team need to adjust your thinking. When things get tough, I hope for a method I created called RAFT. This is a strategy to help you stick to your vision and goals when life throws in your way insurmountable seemingly obstacles. It can help with all adversity – even with global pandemics. Here are four of his rules:
The first step is to acknowledge the problem, not to ignore it or deny it. In many cases, such as the global crisis, the problem is obvious. But sometimes problems can lurk beneath the surface, for example toxic employee or a shift in customer needs. When goals and plans start to deviate, help your team start looking for a major event.
Although awareness of the problem is the first step, you should also take it. In some cases, it can be tempting to blame or justify, especially if the problem started because of something that is out of your control. But as my teacher, the late chairman of the Southwestern Family of Companies, Spencer Hayes, always said, “It doesn’t take courage, boldness or determination to find an excuse. Anyone can find him. ” No matter what you do next, your team needs to accept what happened, and take action to move forward.
As author and businessman Stephen Covey once said, “We are not the product of what has happened to us in the past. We have the right to choose. ” No matter what happens, your team members are always in control of these three things: their attitude, schedule, and actions. They may choose to think positively. They can set the boundaries of their day. And they can choose what to do next. The choice is a change of game. Teach your team to use it wisely.
Incredible transformation can happen when people accept adversity and take responsibility for it. A negative event can evoke emotions and energy that can become both fuel for performance, creating a positive boost and a powerful tool for growth. In fact, when we are challenged, we often do our best.
Use an unwanted event to demand innovation in the team. Think of failure as a skeptic who tells you that something is impossible. Then brainstorm to prove it wrong. This practice can lead to new decisions when members of your team come together and experience the circumstances.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have taken away many of your standard operating procedures, but one thing it could never steal is your thinking. While this may not be at the level of a global pandemic, another problem will happen to you and your team again. Are you ready for this?
Instead of drifting along with the tide, consider the RAFT technique your lifeboat to withstand the next storm. To drive traffic, let your team understand and accept what is happening, and challenge them to focus on what they can control. Steady teams take responsibility for difficult situations and use them to reconsider what is possible by turning the negative into a positive that can take your organization to the next level.
As Tennessee Volunteers Women’s College basketball coach Pat Summit once said, “Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have. ”