Amidst the global COVID-19 crisis, there are four messages that impactful CEOs need to urgently share. These messages should be delivered expediently and with conviction as employees, customers and shareholders seek a path forward through the pandemic.
- Compassion. Employees are juggling fears, problems and new responsibilities. For some, three or four generations are suddenly living, working and schooling under the same roof, causing strain. Others face loneliness and depression due to prolonged social isolation, while some experience unshakable grief for loved ones lost. Then comes the anticipatory grief of economic uncertainty. Without a clear end in sight, it’s become emotionally, psychologically and physically draining. Hearing their CEO and other leaders say out loud their understanding, support, and that together they’ll overcome the situation is a message of care and compassion.
- Purpose. The organization was created to serve a higher purpose. Tough times come and go, but the purpose remains constant. Remind the entire company of the purpose and how it serves multiple stakeholders. How their roles connect to this purpose and how their contribution is needed by co-workers and customers who are counting on them – counting on everyone – to support them.
- Action. Develop and share the plan to weather the storm. While these times will pass, innovation, collaboration and focus will be required like never before, and the need to reinvent the business will be likely. Transparently share the challenges and the plan. To achieve it requires everyone to stretch, be agile and resilient, individually and collectively. Coach others to stay focused on purpose and what is most vital for them to accomplish: their jobs-to-be done. It’s back to the basics, and this is the pathway forward.
- Hope. Communicate progress and accomplishments – daily and weekly. Share stories of team members who’ve shown perseverance and resilience. Communicate total confidence that the organization will emerge from this crisis. Prepare to come back stronger than ever. Paint a picture of hope and navigate the company through the adversity.
Never has the need for great CEO leadership been so high. To do this, it’s important to be compassionate, purposeful, strategic yet action-focused and hopeful. CEO, don’t squander this crisis. Communicate and overcommunicate, that’s the way to create an impact. Now’s the time.
Chuck Bolton is a coach and advisor to CEOs and a five-time bestselling author. His latest book, Reinvent Your Impact: Unleashing Purpose, Passion and Productivity to Thrive, released April 6, became an international bestseller and is available on Amazon. He invites CEOs to up their games in the chapter titled, Calling All CEOs – A Priority Higher Than Profits, Leading with Purpose and Impact.” With the pandemic disrupting every aspect of life, Bolton believes his new book is “the field guide to taking back control during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Since 2000, Bolton has shown his clients how to reinvent their impact and create massive value through his coaching and consulting company, The Bolton Group LLC. He loves inspiring and encouraging others to become their best so they can make their unique difference in the world. Award-winning clients are a Nobel Prize winner and an E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year, among others. He’s worked with leaders at Abbott, Boston Scientific, Cantel Medical, Hollister, IQVIA, Medtronic, Nonin Medical, Optum, Performance Health, United Healthcare, Vyaire Medical and numerous others.