By now we are all aware of the devastating effects of Covid-19. We got two of our experts to give us their top advice on how to maintain business success through these challenging times.
Use SCARF to protect your business from the impact of Covid19
- Covid19 is making everyone anxious. This anxiety is much more than about just catching the virus. It’s about the huge uncertainty the virus is creating. People are uncertain about the impact this will have on their employer, their job, their ability to pay their bills.
This creates a genuine test of leadership. How does a leader create certainty for every employee? I believe that the SCARF framework provides a very useful checklist for leaders to follow.
If you are new to SCARF, it’s a framework created by a neuroscientist called David Rock that is based on the five needs our brain has for us to feel happy and productive and work. The five letters of SCARF stand for:
- STATUS – our need to feel that we, and our work, are valued by our colleagues
- CERTAINTY – our need to know what will happen next
- AUTONOMY – our need to feel like we have some control over what we do every day
- RELATEDNESS – our need to feel like we are among friends – in a community
- FAIRNESS – our need to feel like we are fairly treated.
So how can SCARF help us battle the impact of Covid19?
Let’s start with CERTAINTY. Obviously. you can’t be certain what will happen with this outbreak, how long it will last etc. But you can create a sense of certainty about how you and your colleagues will cope with the challenge. It’s vital that you make it completely explicit about how the team will act.
Just imagine all the things people will be uncertain about when sat at home on their own. Simple questions will need answers. How often should I check in with my line manager? How do I keep my clients confident that work is carrying on as normal? What are the priorities I should focus on?
Leaders will need to provide answers to all these questions. It will be important to use active listening techniques to surface all the questions and then provide the answers. It will be just as important to have a regular check-in with the whole team so that any new questions can be asked. Creating certainty once is helpful. But in a fluid situation like Covid19, creating certainty frequently is essential.
3 Steps to Communicating during a Crisis
- The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. Unlike anything before. That means companies must communicate like never before, right? In a word, no. Because one thing has not changed.
Good communication is Purposeful.
Purposeful Communication comprises three tried-and-tested techniques. Techniques that work any time, all of the time. Techniques the UK Government are using during their Daily Briefings – to great effect.
In any situation, people want to understand what is happening. They need to understand the ‘why.’ The Daily Briefings explain every action so that we take action as a consequence i.e. we now understand what social distancing is and how it helps stop the spread of the virus. Without understanding, we’d be unlikely to act.
Am I going to be okay? Is my family? Will we survive this? Leaders need to reassure people no matter what they feel personally. The calm way the Daily Briefings are conducted helps to convey a feeling of ‘we’re in control, trust us.’
In normal times, creating a sense of excitement matters. Today, think positivity instead. Leaders need to be ‘dispensers of enthusiasm,’ staying upbeat and positive especially during times of crisis.
The three pillars of Purposeful Communication. Helpful at any time but especially so for any leader or organisation communicating right now. Zoom, Slack and all these other tools are merely channels. The messages you ‘fire down’ those channels must be purposeful – think CURE.
Communication = Understanding Reassurance Excitement