Only one thing in business is ever for certain--change is constant. In these chaotic times, every business has had to adjust its strategy to best support its team while remaining true to its brand promise.
With such rapid, constant change, it is more vital than ever for teams to be resilient and forge ahead to not only survive the pandemic but prevail long-term.
To build a culture that fosters a resilient mentality, I had the opportunity to connect with four leaders whose teams exemplify resilience. Here is what they had to say:
1. Uphold a growth mindset
For Jeff Nyman, the CEO of First Choice Business Brokers, a franchise assisting entrepreneurs in buying or selling middle-market businesses, "Mindset is everything." When faced with adversity, it's important to be open-minded and "welcome it as an opportunity to adapt and problem solve," says Nyman.
First Choice is using this time of uncertainty to grow its business model and better understand the state of the economy so it is best positioned to serve its clients post-pandemic.
"The pandemic is an experience that every business owner and employee is undergoing together," Nyman adds. "The difference will show in our takeaways, and our team is working tirelessly to embrace this challenge, innovate and adapt, and emerge more equipped than ever before."
2. Put your people first and success will follow
For Larry Sutton, founder of RNR Tire Express, a leading lease-to-purchase quality tire retailer, the best way to foster a resilient mentality among a team is to put that team first. "The very best leaders understand that they work for the associates, as opposed to the other way around. This is especially true amid the pandemic," he says.
That meant listening directly to franchise owners, store managers, and store employees to understand the challenges and opportunities the business was facing in order to make educated decisions to keep moving forward.
When your team sees their challenges and needs at the forefront of your strategic plan, they will be more likely to band together. Sutton adds, "It fosters a culture built on trust, collaboration, and service, which is the key to successfully navigating through hardship."
3. Listen critically to create solutions, and communicate them clearly
Jeff Pepperney, president of Real Property Management, acknowledges that businesses everywhere have been forced to rethink routine business practices.
"How we communicated the changes was critical," says Pepperney. "Over-communication was our strategy. As a franchise business, we have been meticulous about over-communicating marketing and operational adaptations as well as the importance of seeing them through. We've done this via phone calls, emails, town hall meetings, newsletters, and more to provide as much guidance and support to franchise owners as often as possible."
Pepperney adds, "When your team is on the same page and clearly sees the goal ahead, they will be prepared and motivated to overcome anything."
4. Remind people of the higher purpose of their work
According to Chuck Runyon, CEO of Self Esteem Brands--Anytime Fitness, Basecamp Fitness, the Bar Method and Waxing the City--to help foster resilience across your team, you must provide significance for today and clarity of vision for the long-term.
"Considering our current circumstances, small-business owners and employees of our brands may direct their energy inward and dwell on their personal circumstances," says Runyon. "They're also focused on the most immediate work priorities in front of them, and may have a mindset that perhaps looks ahead by hours or days. There is so much they need to monitor and navigate."
Runyon explains that as a leader, you must redirect their energies to a higher purpose--drawing a direct line to how their efforts will make a positive difference for others and for the business.
"We also need to share the longer-term vision for our business, and how the work they each do today will help us get to that next level," he says. "We can't offer certainty. What we can offer right now, in the wake of uncertainty, is clarity, and remind our people of their significance to our operations through this period."