28th May 2020

Stack the Deck

Every Monday morning the incidence of heart attacks spikes across the western world. A high proportion of the population admit to poor sleep on a Sunday night. The reason? The anxiety caused by returning to the workplace.

So right now the anxiety of having to return to the workplace after a couple of months away will be intense. Add to that the knowledge that Covid 19 hasn’t gone away: there is no cure and no vaccine and the workplace also represents a place of physical danger. For many the tensions will be becoming unbearable.

Passengers On This Ride

At the beginning of lockdown I urged business leaders to look out for their team. Communicate, communicate, communicate was my plea and it still is. You cannot over communicate. Have a plan and communicate it to the team regularly, repeatedly and honestly. That plan is likely to change daily if not hourly, communicate it anyway. Be straight and be honest. They will appreciate it. Remember your team are passengers on this ride, to a large extent. You have the decisions to make. They don’t have the same sense of control. Let them know what is happening and where you are going.

Bring Your A Game

My second plea is to you the business leader. Look after your own mental health. Stress is insidious. It creeps up upon us unseen and unbidden. One of the effects of being stressed, tired or overloaded is that we cannot access the higher parts of the brain; the parts where logic, reason and problem solving lie. You and your business need you to be lucid and thinking at a higher level as you navigate the near future. Make sure you are capable of bringing your A game to the challenge.

Find A Thinking Partner

And my third plea, which relates to the above, is that you find a thinking partner. Someone with relevant experience, intelligence and gravitas. Perhaps you already have a coach or a mentor. Choose somebody who can give you the space and time and also the challenge needed to think at a higher level. This is not somebody you met down the pub that always seems to have an opinion, nor is it someone who is going to tell you what to do. This is someone who can coach you to be at your best, who will have your back; who will be your compassionate and unreasonable friend, so that you can be your best self.

As you prepare to restart do yourself a service and stack the odds in your favour. You won’t have this chance again.