Mackerel Fishing is a dynamic online research project gathering live research data on business leader’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Aviatrix set out in March 2020 to share, learn and grow insights from over 70 leaders from a range of industries – hospitality to the NHS and different sized organisations– independent consultants to corporates with ‘000s of employees. Our intention is to gather and share insight so that we can re-emerge from the experience of the pandemic resilient, confident and with a sense of togetherness.
This March we delved into empathy, compassion and understanding within businesses: tackling head on the evolution of formal to the informal relationships between clients, colleagues and customers. We have been exploring what the impact of the changes will be on the future of business and customer expectations.
My favourite top leadership tips for March are:
1. Observe the value of contact – both remote and in person.
When the first round of lockdown restrictions arrived, many of us couldn’t have imagined businesses could survive without physical contact. Whether it be absorbing the energy of a crowded room networking, meeting a new client or even catching up with your colleagues in the staff room. The surprise has been that human connection is possible through a screen. This is by all means not implying it has been easy or as good as the real thing, YET, many companies have prospered under the new remote way of connecting and plan to continue Zoom meetings with clients and internal meetings. Whilst Zoom fatigue is real, colleagues have utilised online forums, phone calls and chat rooms to compensate. Remote working has resulted in leaders making a dedicated effort to listen closer, seek to understand and express vulnerability. Remote contact and connection through this time serves as a reminder for our resilience, and that collectively (and armed with a creative problem-solving approach and emojis) we can try to make the best out of a bad situation. Hopefully, remote working this past year will allow us to emerge from lockdown with a whole newfound gratitude of how interpersonal relationships are the fabric which create a successful company.
2. Trust – allowing employees to set their own hours at home, is a way of saying thank you.
Whilst words and gifts can serve as a sincere and thoughtful thank you to employees during this time, nothing says thank you like the gift of trust. To give employees that have worked through this difficult time the responsibility and respect by not breathing down their necks has a bigger impact than one might think. Whether it be an employee juggling home-schooling or a co-worker lost in a year of grieving, a leader’s trust in allowing employees to manage their time with a more varied and relaxed schedule – translates to ‘Thank you, you’re doing the best you can and that is more than good enough.’
3. The customer’s opinion is more valuable than ever, in a time when sensitivity and compassion are heightened.
When we FULLY listen to our customer’s opinion, they can reflect their fears, desires and needs. In times like these, where a common tragedy underpins our daily lives, gaining the perspective of your customers keeps you in touch with a bigger reality than just your own. The customer’s opinion can guide us to opportunities and address weaknesses in your business that otherwise would go unnoticed until it is too late.
4. Learn from the pandemic and be more comfortable with uncertainty – your customers are.
The volatile and uncertain nature of the pandemic has taught us that predictions of the future are an illusion and the only time we have to work with is now. Whilst becoming comfortable with uncertainty and the unknown can force us to confront more than time. In this space we seldom take anything for granted and take each day as it is- connecting better with our customer needs by responding to them in the present.
Do you want to read a more in-depth break down of what our leaders had to say this month? Perhaps how unusual behavioural trends in the workplace are changing interests you… and how does a company bring in new employees effectively in lockdown? Our newest Mackerel Fishing report is online and waiting for tips, leadership quotes, Aviatrix analysis to be reeled in by you!
By Georgie Bailey, Research Assistant