3. Trust your people and welcome their contributions
I’ve always judged people on their output, not their presence. From February till June, 90% of our staff were working from home. Even now, over 50% of our people are working remotely. And everything is going smoothly.
However, it is important to stay connected. During the lockdown, we held daily virtual meetings and started a ‘BrandLoyalty goes viral’ blog. This made us all feel part of the team, and actually helped us to get to know one another better. Colleagues also brought several great initiatives to the table, such as regional digital events and a global initiative to have chats over coffee with other colleagues who were picked at random. We even started virtual cooking lessons to stay healthy and keep our motivation up!
4. Good relationships give you flexibility
Our clients and suppliers have been really fair with us during the past nine months. They have supported us all the way. For example, EURO2020 had to be moved to 2021, so any programmes based on that had to be rescheduled too. We’ve been able to make the necessary adjustments because we already had a good working relationship with our partners.
The whole situation is still evolving in terms of logistics, legislation, regions and so on. Our global network of sales representatives, HR specialists and country managers has helped us to create a ‘middle ground’ of common practices, which we update as necessary.
5. Take care of your health
As for myself, I was under a growing amount of stress, which was probably made worse by the lack of my usual physical activities and healthy eating habits. So I forced myself to get back into the healthy rhythm and switch off sometimes and just go for a walk in the countryside. As a leader, you do need to stay sane.
6. Expect the unexpected
There will always be another crisis. It’s just a question of what and when. Use any breathing space you’ve got to make your organisation stress-resistant. As CEO, crisis anticipation is simply part of the job.