Brianna Johnson

Dear ConvergenceCoaching Client and Friend:

These are unprecedented times. Like you, we are saddened by the impacts stemming from the spread and steps to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19). In the face of a lot of negative and fearful messaging, we are committed to be part of a positive, hopeful movement to help others responsibly manage this crisis in their businesses and lives.

As you are managing this crisis, some things to consider:

  • Stay healthy. Follow the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization guidance for staying healthy.
    • Positivity is critical to your health and well-being. Take the time to center yourself with a regular gratitude practice. Write down three things that you are grateful for each day. What are the positive beacons in your life? Avoid spending too much time on dramatic news and social media outlets. I’ve been getting updates by reading the transcripts of the CDC’s press updates at https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/t0309-covid-19-update.html.
    • Stress management is also crucial. Regular exercise can help you manage your fears and frustrations. In this time of social distancing, work out with videos, walk or run outside, or just stop at home to stretch and exercise. Many of you know I practice yoga, run, and regularly do planks, pushups, sit ups, squats and calf raises because my travel makes it hard to exercise at a specific place. Provided you’re cleared by your doctor, you can do these same exercises while working from home to keep your anxieties at bay.
  • Project calm to your team and be honest about the circumstances. Exude quiet confidence with your team. Panic and hopelessness may be prevalent messages in the media, but they won’t help us generate solutions and they will negatively impact performance and execution. It’s okay to acknowledge that these circumstances are similar to other challenging times we’ve faced in business, and that there are unprecedented aspects to this crisis that cause a number of unknowns.
  • Commit to stay in communication. Bring your leadership or crisis team together and discuss your plans to manage the impact of the virus and social distancing in your practice or business. If you haven’t already done so, ask yourselves:
    • What is changing that we need to tell others?
    • Who do we need to communicate to and when?
    • What are our most important messages?
    • What is our call to action for, or request of them?
    • What are the biggest possible concerns of our various constituencies?
      • How can we address those concerns?
    • What internal process changes do we need to plan for to manage the changes we’re foreseeing?
      • Who can drive those changes?
      • By when can we launch a project team to manage them?
  • Encourage collaboration and feedback. Your team members may have brilliant ideas for how to best manage evolving circumstances. They may identify issues that you haven’t considered. Ask your people to raise questions and generate suggestions, and identify a central resource to gather those ideas for consideration as you manage the crisis caused by COVID-19.
  • Take steps to move to remote work immediately. Some questions to ask yourselves:
    • Who is already set up to work remotely, even if occasionally? Auditors? Others? Should they be asked to begin social distancing and working from home now? Do they have ideas we can leverage for other groups?
    • Which clients do we need to communicate with related to upcoming, onsite engagements? Who can contact them to discuss their plans for COVID-19 containment and request that your team members work from home instead of their offices?
    • What guidelines do you need to put in place to manage your team working remotely? See our sample policy for ideas you might want to include in your communication.
    • What are the IT implications to address related to:
      • Connectivity and bandwidth
      • Security and privacy
      • Access to needed equipment
      • Help desk resources to provide support to staff as they transition to remote work
    • Who can you invite to participate in a Remote Work Sub-Committee that will report to your leadership or crisis team to drive this forward quickly? Be sure that the group includes remote proponents, NextGen team members, and HR and IT leadership to make it happen.
  • If we are engaged to do in-person work with your firm or organization or you are attending one of our TLP workshops this Spring, we are monitoring the situation and will be in touch with you individually to discuss any potential options to consider.

For 20 years, we have managed a completely remote, flexible business and have delivered our services to clients via web seminar, web and telephone conferencing. We are experienced using video and web-platforms, appointment scheduling solutions and file sharing applications to manage multi-party projects and multi-disciplinary teams. We want to support you as you navigate to a more remote or all-remote model during this crisis. You might consider joining us for our webinar on "Remote Work: Today's Answer to Staying Healthy and Serving Clients" on March 26th at 11:30am CT. Registration information will be available on our website early next week, at which time we'll send details by email again as well so that you can join us in that discussion.

One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to guide their team through crisis and tough times with calm determination and thoughtful execution. Hopefully, this crisis is short-lived. But it is here and upon us and you must step up and act. We are here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions and we will do our best to answer them, or to point you to others that may have already walked your planned path.

Finally, pray for the health and safety of our people and the strength and sustainability of our economy and country. Pray for our healthcare workers, first responders, and government leaders.

We are praying, too.

Jen