Company Culture and Leadership Principles Beyond the COVID-19 Crisis
We covered a lot of ground in our latest webinar featuring N6A founder and CEO Matt Rizzetta and Limelight Health co-founder and VP of Innovation Garrett Viggers.
Business leaders know whether they’ve built a great culture based on how their teams respond to adversity, and that sentiment is being tested now more than ever. MIT Sloan research indicates that trust and actions are the foundation of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an overwhelming majority agree that it’s critical for CEOs to show resilience during this time. It’s not an overstatement to say the COVID era will either pull your company culture apart or bring it together. As COVID-19 continues to change nearly all parts of life — and especially in business — the takeaway stays the same: businesses can get through this pandemic just like the smartest ones did through other seemingly impossible disruptive events in the past.
But it’s easier said than done, and many questions remain. How can business leaders navigate decisions for what’s best based on the individual needs, motivations, and interests of each employee? We hosted a webinar discussion to hopefully get to the bottom of just that.
N6A founder and CEO Matt Rizzetta was joined by Limelight Health co-founder and VP of Innovation Garrett Viggers for a discussion that featured insights and perspectives on how business leaders can seize new motivational opportunities amid COVID-19, and how they can galvanize team culture by giving back with empathy and integrity.
Below is just some of the ground we covered during this month’s session.
Leadership Best Practices
- Stories of the Survival Days: Leaders should bring employees into the stories of the company’s survival days. COVID-19 is a great opportunity for business leaders to put things into perspective for employees. As uncertain as the situation continues to be, there are clearly other examples of business adversity that you previously overcame that will make COVID-19 look small by comparison.
- Scrappy Leadership Counts: Most businesses have already asked employees to do more with less as they’ve dealt with the total disruption from COVID-19. As the leader of the organization, you must continue to set the right tone and roll up your sleeves. Employees will see this and follow suit if you’re willing to do the little things to show them that you’re willing to be just as scrappy as you’re asking anyone else to be during this time of uncertainty.
- EQ Over IQ: Any natural disaster or disruptive global event is difficult, but right now while remote, employees are turning to leadership for empathy and relatability above all else. These times are not normal, so dialing up on discretion and personalization is key. Viggers mentioned during the webinar how random encouragement via channels like Slack make for small ways to communicate and let people feel special to know you’re thinking about them. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work regardless of the size of your organization, so take a personalized approach and make decisions based on the individual needs, motivations and interests of each employee.
Culture Best Practices
- Recreate the In-Office Experience: The key to differentiating your culture during COVID-19 is to recreate the in-office environment for employees as best as possible. If you haven’t done so already, it’s easy to make a list of all the core tenets, values and recurring events that make your company culture unique. Then you should ask yourself how you can recreate these intangibles in a virtual setting so that your newly separated workforce feels as close to the office culture as possible when they’re working from home.
- Use COVID to Galvanize: Turn this dubious time into a galvanizing experience through creativity, resourcefulness and innovation. This could be done through custom social media sharing campaigns, food deliveries, or even little impromptu things like shout-outs to top performers who continue to rise to the occasion in a remote environment. N6A’s weekly #KeepFighting initiative recognizes team members who have stepped up and delivered excellent results, while Limelight Health has continued to use music as medicine to encourage team members to play live music during designated all-hands meetings as a safe space.
- Custom COVID KPIs: Create goals that the entire company can participate in as one, and reward everyone when goals are reached. For example, N6A instituted a company-wide goal for all employees to make introductions and to deliver qualified leads that the sales department would have otherwise been responsible for if they weren’t restricted from travelling. If teams hit the goal, the entire company benefits from the reward, not just the sales team — it’s an encouraging form of collective kudos as emotional currency. You can institute new KPIs in a fun and interactive way so that they bring your employees together and maximize business productivity at the same time.
What will the economic landscape look like in six months, in a year, or in a couple of years? At this point, these unanswerable macro questions are sidelining businesses that aren’t proactive enough.
COVID is an incredibly tumultuous time for any number of reasons, but it can be used as a test lab to experiment, and try new things out for your company. It’s up to the smart leaders to carry forward with what worked and make it part of your post-COVID culture both personally and professionally. These new survival days will be defined by the same level of urgency, camaraderie and togetherness you did as you were facing previous adversity.
If you didn’t get to join us live, be sure to access the on demand session here and be on the lookout for our next session on June 11 with SecurityScorecard!
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