Here we are in the midst of a crisis that we have never seen before. Before March, we were literally seeing an unemployment rate that we hadn't seen in decades. Life has been beautiful! Hell! Life has been fantastic! Suddenly, everything stopped abruptly. Jobless claims have increased. Productivity has stopped. The streets of our city began to close and looked more like something disturbing apocalyptic film. To quote my grandmother, "We were going to hell in a trash can!" But, where some see fate and darkness and move on with the flow letting life happen to them, great leaders take the reins and make shit happen. Here are five key areas to help organizations go through significant outages. These areas are based on research conducted by Denison Consulting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which provides assessments and solutions on culture and leadership. Denison discovers that he is successfully facing a crisis; the organization must possess the following five strengths: 1. Communication There is a lot of wrong information that worries people. This creates fear. Fear is caused by uncertainty. Nobody can get a direct answer as to where we will all end up. So, don't be the organization that fuels uncertainty. Be the organization that communicates through the crisis. I am sure you now have many new policies and priorities in place. Make sure to communicate it to your people. A CEO I'm working with during the crisis provides regular updates to all employees every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This includes information on the company's status, new policies / procedures, as well as security updates from the CDC guidelines. During this period of uncertainty, as a leader, you need to understand that fear is driven by each person's livelihood. Many will probably worry if they get a job when this is over. This becomes a slippery slope of "How will I pay my bills or feed my family?" It doesn't even occur to me "What happens if I take the virus and bring it back to my family?" Communicate, communicate, communicate. So how do you get the information out there? Being a producer, you probably have a mix of people on the job and at home. For those who work from home, use programs like Zoom to organize virtual meetings and town halls. For the site, distribute information via common apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Whatever the vehicle, the key is to keep people updated with every step. Now more than ever there is a lot of uncertainty in the workforce. At the back of the head, remember, people have fears. They worry about the virus. They worry if they get a job. If they lose their jobs, how will they pay their bills and feed the family? These are real concerns, so it is up to the management of the organization to keep people informed of the way forward, as well as to continually change the policies that may emerge from the CDC. The key here, as a leader, you must be out in the face of this crisis by communicating with your people. Share the information you get. Listen to people and their concerns. Be the leader that everyone wants you to be. 2. Technology If you had implemented a teleworking policy before the virus, you were probably in good shape to take on the "Shelter in Place" policies adopted by each state. The 2017 flexible work survey found that 74% of organizations offer telework as an option. Needless to say, if you were 26% who were "on the fence" for telecommuting, you're probably trying to do it right away. If you were in doubt, you should know that there have been many developments in the past decade that have made teleworking much more productive. Internet, email, laptops, mobile phones, hot spots and Zoom mean that our office can be wherever we want. The key here is to embrace technology. The world will be different after this is over. You don't want to be the only one who hasn't learned his lesson. Wellness Our essential employees do not have the opportunity to work from home. They are on the floor and shipping the product. Here the attention is paid to their well-being. What are we doing to protect people? All of these must be thought of frequently following the guidelines of the CDC which may or may not change rapidly. If things change, explain why. People will receive it as long as they have a constant flow of information. The important thing is, as mentioned above, to continue communicating with your staff. This is not the time to leave it to the rumor mill to churn out the updates. Relieve fears by continuously providing information to employees. Also, if you're going to talk about security. Make sure your words match your actions. For example, one of my manufacturing customers is now staggering entry / exit times, so they don't have a crazy dash at the door at the end of each shift. Another still uses confusions for quick information meetings, but now they have red Xs on the floor to make sure people are properly spaced. Do you have a limit on the number of people in break rooms? Lastly, make sure you have lots of hand sanitizer, wipes and so on. All this shows that you care and understand what you say. Understand that there are now more forces that create chaos in your employees' lives. Always remember that household orders included all family members. Hence, people are trying to understand childcare and home education. It's a mess out there. Don't be the leader who just messes up the most. The key here is empathy. Really understand what we are going through. So be the leader who does his best to help guide people through it. Customers view this crisis as an opportunity. When we get out of it, you will understand your client better than you have ever had and perhaps you will have a closer relationship. Here's how it works. You will have new operating policies. Your client will have new operational policies. It will be important to communicate with your customers at a whole new level to understand their policies and respect them, but also for them to understand your policies and respect them. Remember, the uncertainty you see about your workplace is probably also present on their workplace. Therefore, you need to understand what your customers feel and then apply it to how you work with them, whether it's a simple phone call or on-site. The key here is to apply the way you communicate and update your staff to how you communicate and update your customer. Understand their new policies (and be sure to communicate them to your staff) and if they have new expectations for your organization. 5. Connection With remote office staff, learning to work together will be much more difficult. If you have had pre-COVID telecommuting policies, you may have some experience. Otherwise, no worries. As I said in the Technology section, there are many ways to work remotely. It will not be a question of technology that holds you back, it will be you and your people who will put you in the way. A company I work with to transfer everyone to telecommuting immediately showed their IT staff the view of Zoom and all its functionality during multiple sessions. By the end of the week the company was shut down and was working on organizing the meetings. They kept the town halls, the magnets on Monday morning and even organized a Friday cocktail. People will adapt and you will be amazed at how quickly. The key here is to be open to new ways of doing things. Don't fight it. Learn from it. If people struggle, help them. Be the leader that champions change, don't resist him. Call Call That's all. All of this is unprecedented. There is no script. No Guide There is a lot of uncertainty. But what we do know is that great leaders create large organizations that adapt in times of turmoil. There is no doubt that things will be different when we come out of this current crisis. The key will be that we, as leaders, will be different? Will we have changed for the better? Will we have learned? Jay Richards is a member of the founding team of Denison, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company specializing in corporate culture and leadership development. For 20 years, Jay has worked with manufacturing companies to improve their culture and leadership.