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Leading your organization in crisis.

Aaron Kirunda

Are you a leader at your organization? Do you sometimes wonder what to do when you feel low, confused, frustrated, uncertain, and anxious? You are not alone. This happens to all leaders worthy the name. So don’t feel lonely at the top. Your team expects you to continue leading and encouraging them. Here are few things to keep in mind for yourself and for your team while leading – call it a checklist.

  1. Maintain the meetings virtually: Meetings are the heartbeat of the organization, don’t stop the heartbeat. Keep going with them as you were before, with a specific time and day every week. For us this has been super helpful to stay at the top of everything, to deal with issues rising, and not to lose focus. Every Monday at 9am for 90 minutes, we meet. We have also maintained our quarterly meetings, in the last one, wee were able to proactively revise our targets for this quarter and stay focused on few targets that are achievable.
  2. Be the lighthouse: Your team expects you to lead, and they need five things from you. Call them the 5Cs of being a lighthouse: Calm, Communication, Connection, Clarity & Confidence. To be able to deliver this, you also need to find time to break from your work to get clarity. Take some No email, No video call days, have dinner with your family, take a walk, talk to your neighbors, exercise, sleep, and you will be fresh to help your team navigate to solid ground.
  3. Focus on empirical data: You need to take a closer look at your numbers. What are you doing every week, what are you achieving, what is working, and then adjust accordingly. Create your forecasts and watch them. Think innovatively on how to better serve your customers or beneficiaries, and manage your costs/expenses as well as your collections. This has been helpful for our company. Looking at what we spend on most, and what brings in more revenue consistently over the last 3 years enabled us not to even worry about the other things that could be noise, but will never even raise to 5% of revenue, and instead focus on what brings in 50% revenue only.
  4. Look for opportunity: Closely related to the above, look out for new opportunities that you can easily take on without much change. Don’t try to pivot at 180 degrees. Assess your team capabilities as well. Some of the things you can think of is to prioritize customer care, add value to your offering, and stay top of mind for your customers, don’t stop marketing and selling, stay relevant. At enjuba, from the beginning of the pandemic we deliberately decided to focus on social media engagement, to keep top of mind, we also took on e-commerce opportunities and listed our books on Jumia and SafeBoda (coming soon). This quickly addressed our delivery issues, and people are able to order for books and get them delivered to them quickly.
  5. Simplify your offerings: In these times, there are things you will not be able to do, there are also things that have become irrelevant. Consider eliminating products or services that are not profitable or are no longer relevant or practical now. Also consider updating or adopting technology that will make your offering more accessible to your beneficiaries.
  6. Update your organizational structure: Look at your chart and make changes that fit into this new normal. Stay focused on the right people in the right seats.