“You may not be able to control every situation and its outcome, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with it.”
Never has this phrase been truer than it is right now.
I don’t think anyone could have predicted what has happened over the past month since the COVID-19 breakout, and it’s certainly not something businesses will have planned for in their forecasting and strategy for 2020!
But these things are sent to try us, and it’s times like these where we’ll see triumphs from those who adopt a considered and connected approach. When life seems uncontrollable and all your best-laid business plans have gone out the window, it’s important to take a breath and focus on the things you can control – how you respond to the situation personally and professionally.
The importance of purpose
How you respond as a company will be driven by your purpose and organisational values.
These values will help shape attitudes of those in leadership and the wider organisation. A strong and clear purpose helps provide context for decision making and unifies and motivates relevant stakeholders.
In challenging times such as these, the resilience of your team and their ability to pull together to do the right thing will be inherently based on the company culture you’ve created. Everyone is aligned and working towards a common goal.
Relying on your company purpose and values means you can respond authentically in any situation, delivering the messages your key stakeholders – including employees – want and need to hear. Now is not the time to try and capitalise on the situation by shoe-horning your company into the current rhetoric if you have no place being there.
Your purpose will help define the message and how you as a company are going to respond, this is true in any situation, not just during a crisis.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it
Your reaction needs to be planned – so it’s more of a response than a reaction. Think about how this situation may affect your long-term company strategy. Are you going to adapt your goods or services? Are you going to adjust how staff and customers communicate with one another? Are you going to see this a minor hiccup with potential long-term opportunities? Or will this have a devastating impact on your company?
It’s important to consider the long-term strategy as early as possible, as this will affect the communications and messaging to your staff, the public and other key stakeholders.
A recent study by Kantar stated 74% of people think companies should not exploit the situation, and only 30% want to see brands offering discounts and promotions. Being mindful and taking a considered approach to how you react in these situations will have a massive effect on your company reputation, public sentiment and the longevity of your brand.
It makes sense to review and adapt your current business and communications strategies. Don’t aim for short-term gains at the detriment of long-term durability in this situation.