Article Originally Published on Crain’s Cleveland
It’s been nearly two years into the pandemic, and we’ve been successful at adapting. Even when pandemic fatigue sets in, as leaders we need to remind ourselves: It’s not 2020, and not even 2021 — it’s 2022, and we’ve been adapting this entire time.
While leaning into technology and focusing on what we can control, we’ve learned tremendously about our capabilities.
As a former quarterback, I and my teammates prevailed by focusing on what we were able to control: preparation, leading teammates, and putting yourself in a position to know what you’re doing.
During a game, there are so many things you’re unable to control, like the weather or how the opponent’s playing. You just have to prepare as much as possible and focus on what is within your reach.
In business, it’s the same thing. Now more than ever, leaders need to be positive and realize this is a moment in time. Here are three tips that have worked for me and my team.
First, I consistently check in with my team. Whether it’s email, text, video or stopping by in person, it’s important to check in at least weekly. People need to see their leaders. My team can see and hear me, whether I’m talking in person or on a video that was emailed to them. Making a simple video on your phone and emailing it to your team can go a long way.
Second, focus on short-term goals. My mindset has shifted to asking the team, what do we need to accomplish today, tomorrow and this week? Concentrate on what we can control. In an ever-changing world, accomplishing short-term goals as a team is motivating. Celebrate the quick wins; it makes everyone feel good.
The pandemic has taught us the art of simplicity. Before March 2020, it was the norm to focus on the big picture. Long-term goals were top of mind and, while it’s still important to keep your eye on the prize, drilling down goals into small, incremental, achievable hits makes the journey more attainable for the team. Getting back to basics is key — there’s something to be said about staying present to the moment and recognizing wins on a more regular basis for both the individual and team as a whole. Approaching work this way can be more fun for everyone involved, too.
Third, stay in motion — lean into physical activities that can be calming and inspiring. Encourage your team to go for walks, meditate, do what they need to do to reset. If you’re the motivator, who motivates you? Let’s face it: We are all tired. The pandemic has taught us to find our passions and focus on health. I’m a better leader if I exercise. Every morning for an hour, I walk on my treadmill to get ready for the day. Try listening to motivational content or reconnect with past mentors that have inspired you. Make this an integral part of your routine.
Keep moving forward. Think about how far we’ve come since March 2020, when everyone managed to be productive whether it’s Zoom or Microsoft Teams or another mode of technology. Whether it’s next week, next month or next year, it’s going to end, and that gives you hope.
Matt Kaulig is the executive chairman of Hudson-based Kaulig Cos.