What can business leaders do in the current COVID 19 crisis?

1 May 2020
The Road to Acceptance

The world of business is usually perilous.  Potholes, diversions, and unexpected detours are quite often the order of the day.  However, the current Covid-19 crisis is different.  This time many businesses are faced with a road that disappears under a mound of rubble with no apparent route around.  In short, their current business model has been destroyed and no amount of bargaining will bring it back into operation. Road closed, seek other routes.

Many of my business clients are faced with this new reality and have experienced profound shock that customers have abandoned them overnight, premises have been forced to close, suppliers have turned off the taps and employees have been isolated to their homes.  Business owners have had to wrestle with immense feelings of anger and guilt, laying off staff, cutting salaries or even closing down.  Family businesses which have survived generations, wars and economic downturns have failed to anticipate this steep and instant global downturn.

Some businesses have adapted quickly and even benefitted but these are in the minority. Most business owners and managers are experiencing a whole array of unpleasant emotions that are impacting on their mental health and wellbeing.  Many, for the first time ever, are being faced with a situation that they can not control, creating unaccustomed feelings of panic and disorientation.

As their coach, my role is to help them make sense of their circumstances and assist them in finding a way forward for themselves and their business.  The Emotional Logic approach is invaluable in helping our conversation develop in a natural and non-judgmental way where they are able to express how their emotional state is making them feel.  First things first, it is important that they are reminded that given the enormous impact of Covid-19, they would not be human if they didn’t feel sideswiped by the circumstances – few things they would have experienced in the past would have prepared them for this.  Secondly, these feelings are a natural physiological response to a cocktail of hormones that are washing around them, triggered by the sense of loss they are experiencing. 

The road to acceptance stems from recognition that they are unable to alter their current circumstances and the standard routes open to them – work harder, negotiate better, sell more, change the product, hire new people etc etc, are now not open to them.  This insight can initially be a bleak one but it is also empowering, freeing up their energies to identify new paths ahead.   From this point, the feelings of depression, anger and guilt may dissipate and the conversations often become more optimistic and focused on how they are able to support their staff, stakeholders and customers in developing a new direction. 

If you would like our help, please contact us today.

Chris Lorimer is a highly experienced management consultant and business coach, and with his wife, Mary, runs Devon Business & Education Centre, an award-winning venue in the heart of Devon. He is also an accredited Emotional Logic coach and trainer and has incorporated the approach within his coaching practice.