Please see an excellent article written by our ESMA member, Garry Browne from Stuart Alexander in Australia titled “Standing out in a Downturn” – excellent article Garry:
Standing out in a Downturn
In times when you have a pause or reset in your life (by choice or imposed on you), and you have time to reflect on your world, great ideas and thoughts often come to the forefront if you have the right mindset.
I see COVID-19 as an opportunity to do just this from a personal and professional perspective. It’s a good time to reassess your own personal brand and that starts with some deep reflection about your purpose and core values.
As one community leader shared on a podcast recently. ‘All the assumptions we had about our life and how we live it are off the table. It’s a time to think deeply about what really matters to each of us, to reassess how we live, treat our fellow man and the planet.’
Your personal brand is dynamic, and you need to recognise that you have to be agile and adaptable in the way you engage with your family, friends, colleagues, clients and customers.
Have you thought past setting up a home office and learning to use some of the online meeting platforms, to how you communicate to those groups you’re part of and what you communicate?
Have you considered how you can reach out online and position yourself in the way you want to be perceived that is both meaningful and thoughtful?
What does your personal brand say about you today, in the COVID-19 environment?
Have you actively stood back and assessed if you need to recalibrate your approach to be relevant to the key people within the various groupings that you are part of?
What aspects of your personal brand do you review to ensure you support your credibility and relevance online?
What are some of the ideas you should consider to engage your audience?
What type of leader/communicator do you want/need to be online at this time?
Leaders will be judged on how they have responded to the pandemic, so you need to do things differently and do it in a way that is meaningful and contextual.
Suzie Wilson has recently written an article exploring why Jacinda Ardern’s leadership is so effective and refers to American professors Jacqueline and Milton Mayfield’s research into effective leadership communication. The Mayfield’s research-based model highlights “direction-giving”, “meaning-making” and “empathy” as the three key things leaders must address to motivate followers to give their best. How do you measure up online based on all three of these?
In the COVID-19 environment it is important to inform and offer assistance, not push yourself into other peoples’ virtual space. Perhaps you need to return to picking up the phone and personally engaging with people, asking if they’re OK and if there’s anything you can do for them.
Be insightful, wise and measured. And in small doses. Many people are overloaded with the volume of communication they’re trying to manage as well as learning new tech, behaviours and, for many, home schooling (which brings up its own issues around computer access and internet overload).
Understand that people respond to uncertainty and change quite differently. Keep this in mind when communicating online (and on the phone). Listen (read carefully) to what the other person is saying, or not saying.
These and many more questions need to be considered and answered rather than left to chance while execution needs to be encapsulated in a strategy to communicate clearly, with empathy and in a timely way. By doing this you will stand out from other leaders and managers during this downturn.