Business as you or I know it is changing.
Remote work, A.I. advancements, and manufacturing process adjustments are threading within every business sector around the world. Whether these temporary pivots are going to be long-term processes isn't something anyone can fully predict just yet.
Instead of allowing this uncertainty to send you into a state of panic or have you live in a place of limbo, you must shift your focus to remain calm and step forward as a leader for your team. Here are three things every business leader can focus on in uncertain times.
1. Your internal thought process
When stress is running high, it is easy to go on autopilot. Execution becomes the main priority, and we as leaders often neglect to turn inward and understand how it all feels. But just as businesses spend massive budgets on marketing to catch consumers' attention, the same rings true with the thoughts and ideas that live inside your mind. Where you allow your money or your attention to go, growth will occur. If your emotions are shut down or your thoughts are negative, it will directly relate to how your business operates.
Begin to take notice of what is happening inside of you. At the top of every hour, give yourself one minute to simply close your eyes and breathe. When the coronavirus pandemic began to impact the economy and e-commerce sales, I put this practice into play and found it far easier to make more empowered decisions for the business and relieve any compounding stress.
The more you begin to understand yourself, the better you will be able to come out of a tough time to lead your team and lead your industry toward greater change and improvements.
2. The present situation at hand
You may have heard the theory that you're the sum of the five people you surround yourself with. There is a deep truth to this, but I have found it goes beyond that. More than your peers, you are the sum of the main things, ideas, and processes surrounding you.
As chaos unfolds around you, it's really easy to get inundated with thoughts of what you could have done better or wishing things had been handled differently. The fear of what will happen in the future paralyzes you from taking action in the moment.
An emphasis of attention placed on the future feels overwhelming, while attention on the past generates stress and shame. Save yourself from this, and place your attention on what is in front of you right now.
Carve out intentional time to reflect and learn lessons from the past. Brainstorm ways to improve for the future. When you put your mind and focus on the moment at hand, not only will you truly be present, but you will also begin to view it as an opportunity.
3. The intention of your business
As a local in Austin, I found a nearby bakery, Easy Tiger, to be a prime example of a business continuing to live its purpose while adjusting to the needs of the customers. The bakery's purpose is to provide the community with fresh food. Although during typical times it did so through typical bakery services, Easy Tiger pivoted to meet its customers' needs for the past few months. It now offers delivery and pickup services for groceries, and has turned its in-person bread baking classes into online tutorials for the community to do it at home.
It all comes back to why you do what you do. Although the execution may look different right now, the mission of your business doesn't have to change.
Why you created a business is the foundation for its existence. When you place the focus back on the intention, new ideas will form and you will be able to creatively adjust. When you sell from a place of invention with emotion, the options become endless. Shift the focus from the product to the purpose behind it.
Uncertainty doesn't have to mean chaos, and change doesn't have to mean failure. Focus on executing the mission of your business at this very moment in order to move forward every day.