Business owner always says that every company has to go through a real crisis before it becomes a real business. All the big companies we know have gone through some major crisis in their lifetime and they are still in the game. There is a lot of research on crisis management out there, but none of them tell us how to manage a company in times of war.
Our company never saw a real crisis before February 2022. Even before we did, however, I always told my team: “Every company is a company. There are times of sunshine and times of crisis.”
When the Russo-Ukrainian War began on February 24, all Ukrainian businesses faced a crisis. I will use our example to explain how we deal with it.
Here are six tips for managing an effective team in war.
Set up an emergency communication channel
In such volatile times, people will ask for a lot of updates on what is happening. When people don’t know what’s going on, there’s a void that can be filled with rumors or disinformation.
To avoid this, you must establish a special communication channel that operates around the clock. For example, slack notifications can be automatically turned off outside of business hours, so make sure you use the channel your team uses most often so they’re less likely to miss important announcements.
This seems like an easy and obvious step, but it is the most effective way to help your team when they feel lost or disoriented, which is only natural when there is a war going on. around them.
Communicate with your team twice as often
Training to manage stress, anxiety, and personal finances will help your employees build the necessary knowledge and respond to difficult situations.
Great leaders communicate with their people, and we must all remember that “overinformation is good communication.”
For us, this saying has never been more true. Communicate regularly when there is an update on the issue but no less than twice a day. Also, follow your usual rules for team communication: Honesty, empathy, and humanity.
Finally, when there is a serious crisis, most people’s ability to think critically can be hindered. In such situations, you may have to explain things to your team more than usual. Do not shirk this responsibility. If your team needs a handshake, be there to grab it. It will pay off in the long run and keep you in control from the early days of the crisis until things settle down.
Stop investing in R&D and get people back to work ASAP
As a leader, you must save your business, as it is what people rely on in uncertain times. The first thing to do here is to save as much cash as possible to keep the business running for as long as possible. That often means cutting back on non-essential spending. This can be a difficult decision, but you may have to make sacrifices.
Once our team is in a safe position, the best way forward is to get them back to work and help calm them down. It may sound strange, but this is the best way to channel the anxieties and suspenseful energies of war. In the workplace, where everything is known, regulated, and straightforward, people find calm and a sense of continuity of purpose.
In my experience, the first wave of crises is the most difficult because of the high degree of uncertainty. Once you get past that stage, however, there are fewer variables, which is when you get back into investing if they’re still viable.
Use your standard teleworking policy
When the war broke out, it was very difficult to manage the team and re-establish our business processes. So we waited to do that after our group was safely evacuated and relocated.
Remote policies have proven to be a lifesaver when our employees are not in their usual environment. No one diminishes the value of teamwork, so invest in it more as everyone will need each other’s support to a much greater extent during times of great conflict. Among online team building activities, AR activities are proven to be an amazing mood enhancer.
Conduct special training to support your team
Thankfully, crises are rare, but it also means that people often don’t have the knowledge to handle the myriad of anomalous information they’re bombarded with in such situations.
In such situations, you should:
- Educate people by doing special training with the help of experts. Training to manage stress, anxiety, and personal finances will help your employees build the necessary knowledge and respond to difficult situations. The Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications has created a guide titled “Psychological support in war,” explains how to detect and support mental health problems.
- Invite successful and respected people to share positive thoughts about the situation and possibly explain how they have faced particularly difficult times. Power bias is real, and it acts as a morale booster when a team needs direction and a feeling that things are going to turn out well.
- Share relevant positive news to cheer your team up and create a vision of a better future.
Align business goals with social initiatives
When war broke out, people wanted to help. This is fine, but we recognize that it can affect focus on work and can ultimately lead a business to a deeper crisis. In times like these, use your over-explanation from Step 1 to work and educate people on how your company’s success benefits society.
Thanks to what your team accomplishes at work, your company can invest more resources in philanthropic initiatives while maintaining or improving growth or profitability. As a result, your team can get more done and have more resources to do something meaningful for society.
This will not affect your existing OKR system as your company goals will remain the same. However, the perks of the group have changed – instead of a delicious barbecue, you will now invest the money saved in something that benefits the wider society. Statistics show that when a company leads with purpose, 76% of respondents are more likely to trust that company.
Volunteering has become an essential component of our team’s operations. Because for exampleWe arranged donations, procured equipment, supplied troops, and helped secure supplies for people in disaster areas.
Every company will face a crisis caused by a unique combination of factors. However, the tips I have provided here are applicable to almost any problem situation. Don’t forget to maintain a strong leadership position and empathize with your team.