4 Steps Forward to Survive the Pandemic
Well folks, here we are.
There’s a dumpster fire, another one over there and then look…a new one is starting up behind you.
As I scroll Facebook and Twitter, it appears we’re debating whether the dumpster fire is real rather than navigating the impacts of a real or perceived crisis.
As leaders of ministries, step back from the debate and look at the landscape.
How is this impacting your listeners and donors?
Are you seeing any ripple effects on business underwriting?
Have you listened to donors lately? Are families having to consider living on one income, so a parent can stay home and homeschool?
(FYI – a national poll just released stated that 25% of American families will not be sending their children back to public schools.)
Yelp just announced that one-third of restaurants will not reopen.
United, American and Delta have all done massive layoffs.
A major rock has been thrown in the middle of a lake.
The ripples will impact us.
Here are a few principles I’d encourage you to consider as we sail these waters.
First, stop debating and start navigating.
Is the virus real?
Are masks effective?
Can we trust the data?
Who cares!!! You have an organization to lead.
Debating whether the storm is real doesn’t help you.
Navigating through the impacts of a storm is your role.
Your team is watching.
They want to see you making plans to keep them safe and employed.
They signed up to go on a journey to fulfill a mission and vision, not to hear our opinions about doctors, diseases and pandemics.
What do I mean by navigating?
What does your underwriting forecast look like for the rest of the year?
How is business support trending for 2021?
The same is true for listener support.
Have you started evaluating what fundraising goals for the fall should be?
Should they be adjusted?
What about 2021?
Have you asked your Accounting dept for a complete list of expenses and then met with your team to find savings?
How’s your cash flow? Do you have enough in the bank to endure these days?
Consider challenging the team for ideas of new revenue streams. How can we raise new and more money in these times? Are the ideas reasonable and achievable?
I highly encourage you to have those conversations.
Let your team know you’re having them.
As a matter of fact, include them in the discussions.
May we be seen as navigating and not debating.
Doing so will build trust and confidence among the team during a time of high uncertainty.
Second, face reality as it is but paint a picture as to how things will be.
Face reality as it is, not as you want it to be.
Are you facing reduced underwriting support?
Do some projects need to be delayed?
Will on-air fundraising goals have to be lowered?
Beyond that, in order to keep the team safe and the organization healthy so it can function, will vacation and time off policies need to be tweaked?
Tell the team.
And tell them the why behind the decision.
But don’t end there.
Paint a picture of a better day.
But help them see that the organization will endure, and the mission is still relevant.
Please don’t be one of those leaders that your only action is to say, “We all just need to trust God.”
Moses and the ancient Hebrew people trusted God that the land of Canaan would be theirs.
But they also had to the fight the Amorites, Jebusites and the Canaanites in order to inherit the land.
Prepare the team for battle.
But remind them what they’re fighting for.
By doing that, you’ll give them hope.
Third, always define ‘what’s next’ for your team.
Your team wants to help the organization weather this storm.
They believe the mission.
Their family directly benefits from the ministry’s existence.
Now is NOT the time for a five-year vision.
But you can help them with what is next.
What is it they can do now to help make the ministry more stable during such uncertain times?
Answer that question for them.
By doing so, you connect their efforts directly to the future success of the organization.
During this season, the team will need to hear your voice more in terms of giving assurance and guidance.
Each week, does each team member know what three to five things they should be focusing on?
Help define what’s next for your team and you’ll be the stuff of leadership.
Finally, do the mission.
That sounds so simple, but it really is true.
Do the mission.
Disney’s mission is to “Make People Happy.”
They’re trying. Even if the parks are at reduced attendance, they’re giving it everything they have to make people happy.
What’s your organization’s mission?
Are you executing it?
In weekly meetings, are you highlighting things that help fulfill the mission?
By doing so, you encourage more of the same behavior.
The mission hasn’t changed.
Perhaps the things we must do to accomplish it have.
Do those things.
Pursue the mission.
There’s much that can distract us in these days.
You must coach continually so people stay focused on what is most important.
Dear Christian Radio,
Stop debating and start navigating.
Face reality as it is, but paint a picture as to how things will be.
Always define ‘what’s next’ for your team.
Do the mission.
Hope will triumph.
Easy never changed the world.
– Brian Sanders
Brian Sanders is an author/speaker and Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio. To contact him or for more information about his book, Leadership Endurance, visit www.briansandersauthor.com .