This isn’t the first time Eyal Gutentag has helped businesses navigate a difficult period of time. As a performance marketing leader, EyalGutentag has extensive experience guiding teams of creatives through trying times to push growth. While the coronavirus presents massive challenges, in some ways, this obstacle is no different than any other.
When a market goes through a major change, businesses are often required to reassess their business plan and adjust their approach. As the world hopes to reopen, many are curious about the future of business post-COVID-19. Will there be a “new normal?” Right now, we don’t know exactly what the world will look like in 6-months, let alone 6 weeks. To survive the pandemic, management will need to be ready to adapt on demand.
In this interview, we asked rapid-growth leader Eyal Gutentag how managers can guide their teams as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
How Should Managers Approach the Well-Being of Their Employees as We Continue to Move Through the Pandemic?
Many industries have previously faced economic crises. But few have faced something as emotionally hard-hitting as coronavirus. As leaders, we must recognize that this pandemic continues to be a health crisis first and an economic crisis second. Our employees well being includes their physical, emotional, and psychological health. These aspects of health are, and always have been, incredibly important. During and post COVID, managers should approach the well-being of their team holistically.
Individuals may be experiencing economic, medical, or social stresses throughout the pandemic, and these concerns may continue post COVID. It is important to emphasize that there is now space at work for all of these experiences, and they don’t need to be swept under the rug. Managers can promote holistic health by initiating honest conversations with their team members regularly. Encouraging dialogue with colleagues creates a space for employees to vent concerns. When leadership also engages in these conversations, the team as a whole is strengthened. As we navigate this new normal, and open environment is key.
Many Companies Are Adapting to a Permanent Work-From-Home Model as We Approach Post-COVID Territory. How Can Management Adapt to This New Environment?
There are now many factors to consider when managing a team. Many of your colleagues now have new responsibilities and are juggling multiple roles as they care for their loved ones. Team members with school-age kids are often pulling double-duty as a homeschool teacher through distance learning. Employees may be acting as caretakers for family members who are sick or immune-compromised. The goal for management is to find creative ways to support employees through these trying circumstances, without losing company momentum.
Some managers are naturally more comfortable leading colleagues remotely. The skills required for successful remote leadership are becoming incredibly valuable as we move into a time where work-from-home is the norm. I have always preferred managing a team in person – I thrive on collaborative teamwork and feed off the energy in a room. For many managers like me, this time has been an adjustment period. It has become necessary to pivot and lean into new approaches.
Already, we have seen teams successfully maintain drive and progress throughout the stay-at-home order. New circumstances have forced leaders to be flexible with employee availability, and employees have shown their appreciation with hard work. Now that employees feel that their family and personal needs are recognized and supported, we can move to the next phase. Now is the time to expand our business strategies with new technologies. As we have moved through the pandemic, many companies have enlisted new digital tools for increased efficiency. For industries where work-from-home is becoming permanent, it will be important that teams embrace these new methods for the long-haul. We must continue to work towards our long-term strategy.
What Can Leaders Learn From This Overall Event? Are There Any Key Takeaways for the Future?
There are endless takeaways from this pandemic, but one lesson that has been highlighted for every company is that you should always be ready to face an economic downturn. This period of time has been devastating economically for a majority of businesses. The economy has been impacted globally, and many are facing uncertainty about how they will recover. As a leader, it is part of your responsibility to plan for extreme events – even events that you couldn’t imagine. Strong leadership teams discuss worst-case scenarios and have plans in place to mitigate the impact of such events. While coronavirus was in many ways unpredictable, having a general crisis plan in place could have helped many organizations significantly. Moving forward, leadership can learn to always expect the best, but plan for the worst.
You Mentioned Long-Term Strategy. How Does Leadership Stay Focused on the Big Picture During Times of Instability? How Do You Recommend Businesses Stay on Track With Their Overall Goals?
You’re right – our future is unknown, and potentially unstable. So, it is especially important that companies do everything in their power to create their own stability during this time. One way to do that is to focus on the constant: what do you hope to achieve? Our world is rapidly changing, so the road to reach those goals may be shifting as well. But, by working together as a team toward a shared destination, you can keep what is important to you and your company at the forefront.
Some of your long-term plans will be delayed, others may be scrapped entirely. You may find new opportunities and trends that align with your big-picture business plan. The COVID-19 pandemic has required extensive adaptation, but it has also required us to pause and look within at what is truly important. When looking at long-term strategy, it can be incredibly beneficial to simplify and refocus on company values. Take advantage of the challenge, and utilize these trying times to grow.
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