This is a guest article by Stephanie Bickel of Speak by Design.
How you talk about your experience in 2020 speaks volumes about your leadership potential.
We will never forget the time the whole world slowed down to protect one another’s health. We will never forget the turmoil and unrest of 2020 either. As we begin to venture back into the office, we are all going to share our stories of how we survived during COVID. What is even more inspiring, is how you have changed and grown from the last 3 months. Our professional and personal lives were tested. Our ability to focus during uncertainty was tested. We developed virtual skills we did not have before. Many of us learned how to be a virtual teacher, learner, team member, advisor, and leader.
The following comments from clients are thrilling:
- We re-designed our salesforce structure and approach.
- We are re-training our sales agents to grow business through remote presentation.
- We are focusing our marketing efforts differently.
- We have re-designed all in-person trainings to virtual trainings.
- We now have a virtual onboarding training system.
The Wall Street Journal on June 1, 2020 said, the Pandemic will “reduce real GDP by 3%, or $7.9 trillion, between 2020 and 2030.” Ignore this. Do not speak gloom and doom to your colleagues. Statements like these are all guesses, and these beliefs make us feel like victims.
Examine the learnings, expansions, and new experiences you had. This is what you should share with your clients, teams, leaders, and friends. Here are some questions to help you come back to the office with the stories that will help us all come back strong.
What personal attributes did you strengthen?
- My communication improved – I had to be more disciplined in the way I checked in and checked out at the end of the day.
- I have greater appreciation for my team – I had to help and ask for help from team members in a personal way. We met each other’s families. We adapted schedules around personal conflicts with more compassion, which deepened friendships.
- I was more creative than ever – I came up with new ideas that improved our operations and service. The conversations at work were more futuristic and focused on innovation.
- I was more open to change – Digital tools I resisted became my best friends. What matters more to you now? Many of us had values shift . Take a look at these values below and craft a story around one of these as a theme.
What matters more to you now?
Many of us had values shift. Take a look at these values below and craft a story around one of these as a theme.
What impressed you about your company?
Reflect on how quickly your leadership adapted during COVID. Reflect on how well groups like Finance, HR, and IT rose to new challenges. Thank them directly. Talk about their successes with colleagues.
What impressed you about your colleagues?
Who specifically helped you and your team? They might not have been recognized. Can you talk about that helpful individual to others you work with to shine a light on that person’s contributions? Sending a note of appreciation to that person’s boss is a big virtual hug.
We all need a virtual hug right now. Stay positive. Celebrate how you did thrive during COVID.
Stephanie is the Founder and CEO of Speak by Design. She created the Lead by Design methodology for all Speak by Design programming. She recently launched Speak by Design University to help sustain the impact from their programs. Speak by Design has deep expertise launching new CEOs, coaching TED talks, preparing management team presentations to investors, and helping Sales professionals win new business.
Their signature courses include: Presence, Presenting with Impact, Storylining, High Impact Meetings, 360 Leadership Communication, Handling Difficult Situations, and Trusted Advisor Training. Speak by Design help people become consistently compelling forces for their organizations. www.speakbydesign.com
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