Getting Out of Survival Mode With Your Sanity Intact

Contribution | Written by Emily Anthony

Unless you’ve been under a rock (or on some retreat), it seems like most companies are in the midst of a paradigm shift in how they operate, whether it’s moving to remote, limiting operating hours, freezing hiring, or laying off/furloughing their workforce. After being in a fairly strong growth economy, this sudden shift can feel like a slap in the face to all of the planning that has gone into the year. And while many are understandably moving swiftly into survival mode, instead of panicking, what are some things that you can do as an organization to survive with growth in mind?

Check the data, and don’t panic. One thing that will help prepare your organization to approach this uncertain time is to check your organization’s data to find unique or interesting ways in which that data could serve you best in the next 3-6-12 months. For instance, if you’ve discovered that seasonality is important, how can you leverage what you know now to predict where the market will land in your industry in the Fall or Winter? Use the data you’ve got now to help you prepare for the day when we all collectively come back up for air. This will also help ground you and your team and prevent that ever present feeling of panic.

Create and develop new channels. This is a perfect time to connect or reconnect with your network. What are some things that you and your team do really well, and how can you leverage that to provide value in a channel that you may have overlooked? Tap into your strengths to pull out threads of creativity in the process – you’re going to need it in the coming months. Share these strengths in your network, and you might find interesting information returned in kind.

Wrap up loose end projects. Time to wrap up that thing you’ve been putting off the past 6 months. If your inbox is a mess, clean it up and get organized. If you’ve got a blog post or whitepaper you’ve been meaning to write and you just didn’t have enough time, do it now. All of these hanging items can add unnecessary weight during an already immensely heavy time, and lightening the collective load can clear the mind and prepare it to handle more uncertainty as it comes. In the same vein – think of things that may have served you 3 months ago and determine if holding on to that is serving you now, and give yourself permission to table that or even let it go completely.

The work landscape is shifting into a new place and I suspect it won’t be going back to what was “normal” before. That can feel unbalancing and more than a little scary, and it makes absolute sense that organizations are shifting into survival mode in reaction. Our minds, when threatened, shift to fight or flight and the organizations we serve shift right along with that. Finding ways to calm our “lizard brains” will help organizations move from survival mode to growth mode, even when all feels lost.