Leading through COVID19

First time CEO. First pandemic of our generation. The Anti. Those three things came together in a big way a couple of months ago. I’m not the type to panic, so I had to have a plan. I needed some guiding principles to weather this pending storm. I started with what questions I would have and need answers from my leaders on. That’s what I plan to cover now.

November 23, 2020

What about my health?

We all worked remotely so the concern around being around co-workers wasn’t an issue for us. We do have a co-working space, but that was easy to just shut down. No one was going in there full time anyways. Our focus here was to stay connected to our team and send out a confidential survey on a regular basis checking in on everyone’s health. 

Is my job secure?

Job security became our next focus. The news constantly showed unemployment numbers going through the roof. I’m certain that was top of mind for our team. Am I going to lose my job? In the beginning, I shared daily updates on the health of the business.  What we are seeing on the sales side. What was going on with our current customers. I felt like transparency was key. There were even difficult conversations that had to be had. Just in case. We gradually shifted to weekly updates and now have moved to our normal cadence. We kept everyone!

How do I create a new norm?

What is the new norm?  I felt like the best new norm would be something as close as we could to the old norm. The only way we could do that is to stay financially sound. Our sales team went into overdrive seizing the moment on every opportunity. We attacked sales channels that in the past were less appealing. Our consultants worked sensitively yet assertively to keep our active engagements moving along. I felt like if we stayed flat that would be success, thus allowing us to operate business as usual. 

How do I avoid becoming a recluse?

We are social by nature and suddenly we all found ourselves recluses. I immediately opened up our Zoom licenses for personal use. We held everything from happy hours to church clubs to birthday parties on Zoom. We even kept a few non-profits going by donating licenses for them. We stayed connected as much as possible. 

What about my kids?

All of our ants (yes we call ourselves ants at The Anti) that had kids suddenly found themselves juggling a new thing during the day. The role of parent AND teacher. A big change for both sides. How can I do my job and be a full time parent during the day became a big anxiety. What did we do? This is truly a silver lining of all of this. We started Ant U. Think of it as an online school for all of our ant’s children. We had two tracks. One for the elementary schoolers. The other for the older ones. Our head of HR, Susie Moore, became the principal on Ant U and led the kids through classes in music, art, spanish, …  The kids loved it! The parents got a break. Mission accomplished. 

How can we help?

This was a weird one. We are a society that wants to help when help is needed. However, how can you help when everyone is in the same danger? Well, we did. We partnered with our partners at Leapgen to create an app that would allow HR leaders from all over the globe to collaborate and make quick decisions on what to do next. We felt like the quicker they could make a decision and provide clarity to their workforce the better. 

One last thing we did is instituted a mental health day this Friday. Everyone unplugs for a 4 day weekend. No email. No phone calls. No chats. No work Zooms. Nothing. We have all worked so hard and have been extremely blessed both personally and professionally through this whole ordeal. Time to collectively take some time off. I hear Google copied us. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 😊

I hope this provides some assistance for others on how to navigate through a pandemic when this happens again. Here’s hoping that isn’t for another 100 years. 

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