Does your Startup has what it takes to survive Social Distancing?
It is a difficult phase for startups around the world. I am a part of a startup myself and understand how important communication is in order to make a team as well as a product grow.
A floundering economy and quickly depleting resources are just the perfect elements to make any startup shake & break. The sudden enforcement of work from home has come as a great surprise to everyone. Employees were neither ready nor prepared for it.
People have mixed reactions to this entire COVID_19 situation. For instance, one of my colleagues is having a hard time focusing on work from home. He lives in a joint family, and admits that finding a quiet place to work at is increasingly becoming a task.
In contrast, another of my male colleague is having a ball at home. He believes that working from home has
not only positively affected his productivity but has also given him a chance to spend quality time with his kids. Now, as soon as he logs out of work, he is playing games like chess and Ludo with his entire family.
Managers too would want to keep business processes running smoothly on all fronts. They might experience moments where they would sense the control slipping off their hands. But, remember, this is your time to stay calm, bring the leader out of you and research & deploy resources in the best possible way.
Here are a few tips/thoughts that can help managers stay connected with their remote teams and efficiently perform their functions without any hitch:
Focus on your mode of communication
Communication, as I see it, is very little about "what you are speaking" and a lot about "what the recipient is hearing". And therefore, it is important that you ditch emails and textual conversations right now, and embrace video messages.
Textual messaging leaves a lot of space for miscommunication. Also, it takes enormous time & effort to create a perfect looking email.
You could rather use Chrome applications like the StoryXpress Recorder to quickly record short videos bites and share them with the teams. Videos bring clarity, expression and emotion to a message. Videos feel personal and have the desired impact instantaneously.
Trust your employees
Trust is a two way street. You give it and you get it back. There is no other way around. As a manager, you need to clearly define what you expect of every single person in your team, and how best they can perform their duties.
Now, you need to step back, trust the talent you hired and see how creative they can get with their work and what kind of solutions they can invent & provide. You might not get the best results in the beginning, but trust you me, in the longer run, it would help individuals develop a Growth Hacking mindset.
Only when you encourage team-members to think and take ownership for their roles can you establish a successful Startup.
Personalize Your Approach
Now, every employee is different; what works for one will not work for another person. Working from home has made the entire situation trickier. Since team-leads cannot meet every single individual in person, they are heavily relying on emails and messaging platforms like Slack to broadcast their messages.
This is not going down well with everyone. I believe that there are certain steps that mangers could take from miles away to infuse energy, enthusiasm and encouragement within their teams immediately.
Say, I created a personalised video message for my inbound marketing head, commending her on the report she created last time around "Product growth ideas". Or, we just hired a new member on the team, and shared an onboarding video message with him, welcoming him and explaining him "our company's culture & ideologies"
How great the person at the receiving end would feel! With videos, you can get a lot creative!
Encourage employees to Upgrade their Skill-sets
To evolve is mankind's second nature and a human can unlock his/her full potential by upskilling himself/herself professionally. This Pandemic has given us a lot of time on our hands and even in these unfortunate times, we can help ourselves by utilizing this free time in upgrading our skill-sets and thus, in turn becoming better professionals.
There are scores of Online Platforms and portals like Coursera, Udemy, Duolingo wherein one can learn new courses which in turn will augur well for one's curriculum vitae.
In these times it is important to stay focused and to not lose hope. The market has unfortunately plummeted and thus, the goals one would have defined at the onset of the year might seem irrelevant now. However, transparency in communication and realistic goal setting can not only help your startup in being afloat but also propel it towards a prosperous revenue generating firm.
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