Bizzics is delighted to have a guest blog this week from Alli Arney, Human Capital Manager of Park Avenue Consulting Services

“Happy 4th of July, and welcome to the 7th level of 2020,” America heard in a booming narrative voice. Ok, so maybe we didn’t actually​​ hear that, but surely I’m not the only one feeling like each month of 2020 is the next level in a game of chance and challenge!

With the current events, every business leader is navigating precarious situations, most of which are completely unprecedented. With no past experience or handbook to draw guidance from, we’re doing our best to make decisions that will keep our businesses moving forward. When uncertainty surrounds us, sometimes a sliver of hope and a grain of guidance are all we need to make it to the next level. After speaking with several business leaders, I have compiled a few thought-provoking questions and change management strategies that will help you and your business make it to the next level.

Tough question #1: Do challenging situations control your company‘s values, or do your company’s values control challenging situations?

Re-read that question and really reflect, because this question and your company’s values are exactly where we need to begin in order to productively move our companies forward through whatever crazy chaos 2020 has yet to hold!

Most likely, you have already clearly defined the values your company stands on; however, you may have fallen into a business or position of leadership, and these values were an afterthought. Regardless, we all want to believe the values selected are making a difference, but how do we know if they really are? Well, ask yourself this: when the challenging situations arise, is my team able to look at the values my company has put in place as a guiding light for their strategic decisions?

In order for this to happen, you as the leader must clearly and fully embody these values, first and foremost. Next, they must be thoroughly woven into all company materials, processes, procedures, training, orientations, thought-processes, etc. When your team has experienced their leaders deducing challenges, navigating the wastelands and correcting unethical situations by referencing the company’s values as a baseline, then and only then will they begin to do the same.

Tough question #2: Have your company’s leaders and values built a culture that puts trust above performance?

If you have an individual contributor who can outperform any metric you present, then you probably regard that person as an asset. Sometimes, that regard can cloud judgement and make it challenging to correct, reprimand, or even terminate persons in this category.  However, if your trust in them is lower than their performance, do not let your values be swayed. It may feel like a risk of business to stir the pot, but allowing said problems to persist is risky business! Weigh your long-term consequences here, and consider the message it sends to the rest of your team. Trust must match or outweigh performance in order for that person to truly be an asset.

Another common situation where trust and performance are being weighed is with the new realm of remote work. While many companies have been switching to or offering this previously, this year’s pandemic has forced most companies to implement it. For those who felt forced to implement this with the pandemic, the biggest concern is performance management. Leader after leader has asked me, “How do I manage my team’s performance?” Well, my answer is simple: Trust!

You will know if they aren’t balancing the new blend of home and work well if metrics drop, deadlines are missed, virtual or live meetings are rescheduled, etc. But at the end of the day, if your team doesn’t feel trusted to do their jobs, they won’t be around for long. Weigh the long-term effects and cost of that carefully, as well. And again, if your trust in them isn’t matching or outweighing their performance, then they aren’t an asset, and will diminish​  your culture quickly!

Tough question #3: Are you ready to compromise?

It’s strange to think that there was once a time when no one believed a 4-minute mile was physically possible. In 1954, Roger Bannister shattered that belief when he ran the mile in 3:59:4, paving the way for countless others after him. So what changed? The Law of the Lid explains it perfectly. The lid was lifted, the goal was accomplished, and the way was paved.

As we navigate what we hope is the coming end of this pandemic, we need to throw out the idea that things will be going back to “normal”.  Your teams have seen that they can get more done for work and family with a virtual office option. You may not be willing, ready, or able to maintain full-time remote work status, but whether you want it or not, employees will now require remote options because they’ve seen it’s possible. The lid has been lifted, and we must compromise in order to stay competitive.

Some will offer continued full-time remote options.  Many will be offering a blend, requiring 1-2 days in the office for meetings, updates, presentations, performance checks, etc. Give them parameters to work within, and trust your team to find the right balance. You’ll all need to commit to being open to further adjustment as everyone finds the right structure, checks and balances are put in place with deadlines, goals, a few metrics, and so on. Let them help you develop those parameters, too! Ownership equates loyalty. It’s going to require you to compromise and change, but your team will be more loyal to you for not forcing the lid back on the pot!

Tough question #4: Will values, trust, performance, and compromise really​ affect the bottom line?

Drastically. Unequivocally. Tremendously. Hopefully these words capture my emphasis here, because the answer is YES! These pieces affect culture FIRST. They work together to let your team know they can trust you, you can trust them, and everyone can grow together. When your team unifies under this sort of premise, you won’t have to worry about their performance because your bottom line will answer that question for you. Turnover will decrease, and better candidates will apply for your openings.

Now when you hire, you’ll want to make sure these 4 things are top priority for anyone receiving an offer. Build your teams to build your culture, and they’ll help build your business. If you still don’t feel confident that you or your company is ready to adjust and grow through the remainder of this year, then it’s time to call an HR consultant. Human Resources isn’t just about compliance! HR can build your team, engage your culture, and enforce values. You don’t have to do this alone. Most games have multiple players, and adding a few players to your game may just be what helps your company level up in 2020!