I can safely say that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and all of the implications for the global world economy are like nothing we have ever seen before.  And reactions are all over the map. Too little, too much, and not very much in-between.

In a world that we see as global, we are all coping with this and dealing with the implications of doing things a totally different way.

We are here.

We’re uncomfortable.

At best… it’s difficult.

The worst part is feeling helpless.

As humans, we all crave three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  With the loss of one of these we are challenged.  With the loss of all three we can feel paralyzed.  With the issue that Coronavirus is presenting, we need able, calm, capable, confident leaders who can look at the refinement that can come from chaos and see that structured disruption can result in some sort of positive change on the other side.

We need the empowerment to give ourselves the gift of at least one of the elements above.  We need to operate in generosity, sharing this strength and turning it into the best we can do with a really wicked mess.

Here are 10 things you can do starting today to help and heal yourself, protect your team, re-orient your strategy, and then make a plan and start implementing it (and refining as things continue to change):

  1. Be honest about where you work. Take a critical look at your organization’s structure.  Is it hierarchical and centralized? Or is it  networked and distributed? What sort of change plan is needed?
  2. Don’t turn a blind eye to the affects of fear.  Work to understand the complex neuroscience of crisis-level stress and learn how to identify it and offer support for it on your team or get support for it yourself.
  3. Take an honest look in the mirror. Examine your individual leadership style.  Take a critical look at your mindset, triggers, and room for growth and figure out what you can do to work on them right now.  Ask for development support if needed – this situation is unprecedented.
  4. Use your heart.  Upgrade your emotional intelligence right away and all of the time. This is a humanitarian issue and the most paramount thing is to protect your people.  What can you do to make them feel as safe as possible?  What internal communication measures can you plan and roll out as things evolve? Science supports EQ as the element linked to 90% of the world’s most effective leaders.
  5.  Learn to share. Build a diverse team of generalists (instead of a tightly coupled team of specialists).  Gaps in communication between departments, generational communication strife, and issues that come up when people are different behaviorally can be your greatest asset when you make time to sit down as a team, meet, hash out, refine, fix, apply (and repeat).
  6.  Stop the bleeding and comfort the injured.  Map out affected channels, jobs, tasks, and roles.  Be generous with the people affected and get them support and development if possible.  They will need to be at their highest and best from here forward.
  7.  Choose a confidante. Find someone to talk to who can confidentially listen to your concerns and problem solve with you.  Partners and spouses and can be helpful.  So can close friends.  Great coaches and organizational development experts are often happy to scale their work to see their clients through a difficult time.
  8.  Practice excellent stress hygiene.  Actively pay attention to daily stress, staying out of fight/flight/freeze.  Make good decisions with diet.  Get sunlight and exercise.  Laugh.  Enjoy people you love.  Heightened long term stress releases a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol and will dampen your immune system and cloud your decisions or trigger secondary conditions like depression.
  9.  Be honest (with yourself) about the success and struggle.  Every day, examine what worked, what didn’t and where support is still needed. Then make changes for tomorrow.  Remember that we are operating in real time.
  10.  Write your own vision for the future.  What do you want to happen when this situation shifts?  What have you learned and been challenged by that will help you get there with fewer barriers?  How can you look at this crisis as an opportunity to build resilience and map what you want for the next chapter of your life and what you will need to support yourself on that path when global recovery begins?

At the end of it all, we have TODAY.

Crisis, accidents, crashes, chronic disease, cancer, and tragedy happen every single day in every single country in the world.  This particular crisis has created a center point of focus for a huge number of people and our entire global way of living is shifting.  But remember that there is beauty in destruction and rising from the ashes.

Tomorrow will come.