Keeping your people afloat
Everyone is having a rough time right now.
“You don’t have the right to do that to me! It’s not my fault all this is happening, so I want my money back right now!”
With continuing uncertainty in a troubled climate, we, as a human population, are clearly having a rough time. On the surface, we are trying to stay strong. But some people are already facing job losses or suspension of income because of the pressure COVID-19 is putting on business. Our children are not at school or college, professionals (where possible) are required to work from home, and family members and other support networks are trying to pull together. Underneath the surface, we are all feeling highly anxious and stressed trying to keep it all together to stay safe and healthy. Inevitably there is a tipping point for each of us – the straw that will break the camel’s back as the saying goes. With the trickling flow of information about our circumstances, we are suddenly faced with re-evaluating our movements and balancing that with trying to keep our businesses afloat. Suddenly we find ourselves on the phone to travel agencies, banks, customer service centres and the like – having very anxious, stressful, emotional (and sometimes even volatile) conversations to try and get back, recoup, and possibly save some of our finances and assets.
In situations like these, human beings can be especially emotional, and our thoughts begin to race. We begin to “get into our own head” with spiralling ‘catastrophic’ thoughts creating seemingly impossible outcomes purely based on the ‘what-if’ factors that are playing out scenario by scenario in our brain – something we refer to as ‘twisted thinking’.
This twisted thinking leads us humans to behave in ways that are very much out of our norm. Panic buying, trying to get a refund on holidays and travel, and for those who tend to hustle more – start buying up stocks whilst they are cheap to try and make it big when this is all over. This behaviour is demonstrated even more in our language. The words we use, the tone we carry, and the negative impact we deal (regardless of intent) begins to spread around us with quite possibly very negative impact on others.
There is a silver lining however:
Humans. Are. Resilient.
We. Bounce. Back.
We’re really good at it too, bouncing back and staying resilient. On a physiological level – our bodies are powerful, and are designed to bounce back, to heal. This includes our brain (our most sensitive organ) which has a multitude of defences. On a psychological level – our minds are trained for these types of situations. As children we experience upset and heartache, and growing though our formative years and into adulthood, we continue to experience setbacks: job loss, break-ups, heartache, sudden illness, or emotional let-down. These experiences, however challenging at the time, are training our brain to cope, and build strategies and mechanisms to help us bounce back.
The mindset of Buoyancy.
Here at Blue Sky we have a fantastic tool we use to help ourselves, our clients, and our customers to stay resilient in times of ambiguity and uncertainty. Sometimes we must take one thing at a time, to help us learn new ways of thinking, new ways of behaving, and try to get better outcomes with the things that are dealt to us.
* “Six Simple Rules for a Better Life”, Jack Canfield
For every event that we encounter (e.g. an emotional conversation with a family member, or being angry at a situation), we will have a natural reaction. The combination of the event and our natural reaction – means we might get an outcome we don’t necessarily favour.
To get a different outcome – we need to change our reaction to what is happening. Think about it: if you’re getting angry in a situation, your anger will fuel another person’s anger and so forth. So, if you want to create a different (and possibly better) outcome – you can choose to not be angry, and instead be calm and patient, curious and kind.
What about buoyancy and customer experience?
The Coronavirus situation may be translating into some very challenging conversations between your front-line and your customers. Conversations are taking longer than normal, customer service advisers are ill equipped to deal with repeated negativity from customers, and to top it off – you have fewer people at work due to school closures, self-solation, and business continuity protections.
With all of this, the best way for your advisers to handle these conversations is by helping them to understand the triggers that make them respond negatively to your customers – and helping them find different ways to react or respond, to help them work WITH your customers and not AGAINST them. Regardless of the type of conversation, instead of choosing to react unkindly, impatiently, and defensively, make the effort to think and behave kindly, patiently, calmly, curiously, and with accountability.
You may not be able to do much for your customers right now, and that’s okay. What you can do, however, is have human and compassionate conversations, with transparency and a sense of comradery.
Being buoyant won’t be easy.
It will be the right thing to do. It will take work. But with every muscle – the more you do it, the stronger you become. As a business, you will be able to hold to your purpose and vision and you can build a culture of resilience for yourself and your people. As a human, you can do things differently, react differently and help those around you.
Remember – we are all in this together.
If you’d like to find out more, we’re hosting a free webinar to bring to life the mindset of Buoyancy and the skills of Proactively Reassure and Give Clear Explanations on Friday 3rd April 10.30 GMT – click here to join.