In situations like COVID-19 true feelings are exposed by actions.
In challenging times people leverage assets and discard expenses.
Are you leveraging employee assets or discarding them as an expense?
If you are rushing to lay off team members or “furlough” them without engaging team them in direct, candid, and transparent conversations then you are discarding them as an expense.
And you are also running your company from the Business Leaders Isolation Chamber.
A true direct, candid, and transparent conversation will have your team members:
- Understand the current company reality
- Identify actionable ideas they can help mitigate the crisis…
If you tell me you did have direct, candid, and transparent conversations by telling employees, “starting next week all wages are being cut by 30%,” or something like, “after this week we are furloughing all “non-essential” workers for the foreseeable future.”
I’d say you had a direct conversation, but it was not candid and transparent.
You are adding to their discomfort and uncertainty.
What they need to help your company is greater certainty and comfort.
You are not leveraging your assets.
What questions do you have about communicating before cutting?
The right “direct, candid and transparent” conversation in this environment is to explore your company’s specific financial situation with your team and ask them what “we” can do to keep things going as best and as long as possible.
When people are in the know, they feel in control. When people feel in control they feel free to collaborate and create.
Here is a better conversation, “this is our current projected cash flow based on these customer contracts, and our current cash position with funds in our bank is X. Our monthly payroll at our present levels is Y.
“So you can see we can continue payroll at full levels for 30-days, if we cut payroll by 25% we have a runway of 90-days, and if we go to 50% we can keep everyone on payroll for six months.”
Then you say, “With that as our situation, I have two questions for you. First, what ideas do you have so that we can maximize the our current situation?”
Save the second question for after the brainstorm session and decisions are made on which ideas to pursue.
The second question is simply, “so based on what we just discussed what would you like to do?”
Help your team make decisions, create specific actions with accountability to those actions, and specific timeline for checking in.
Then, set them loose.
Just make sure that the timeline for check-in is close to the vest. By that I mean schedule check-in huddles at the end of each day or every two days. Weekly in this environment is a lifetime.
What questions do you have about this direct, candid, and transparent approach to communicating before cutting?
How can I help? If you’d like to explore the possibilities let’s jump on a brief 15-minute free call so I can offer advice on your specific situation. If that is appealing to you use this link www.SpeakWithSkip.com
And, for this current environment, remember the television series and Hill Street Blues’ Sergeant Phil Esterhaus’s (played by Michael Conrad) morning roll call catchphrase, “Let’s Be Careful Out There!”
All My Best,