As COVID19 restrictions are lifting and we are entering into uncharted waters. There will be new guidelines for how we gather in groups. It is likely that how we gather will be different for some time. If you lead in your context, now is the time to keep the right mindset in guiding. We can guide people to adjust to new ways of doing things. We need to be communicating clearly what’s ahead, and quite frankly, just staying calm.
A few years back my wife was invited on a special cruise. I was glad to be her personal assistant! On the trip I was fascinated by something I had never seen before – the cruise ship Harbor Pilot. In the image above, you can see the Harbor Pilot boat that ferried the Pilot on and off our vessel. The Pilot is not on the full cruise. He is rather on board long enough to assist the Captain in safely navigating the harbor. He knows the way around other vessels, and obstacles and barriers.
I serve in a large organization. In the best of times it takes the ‘seven touches’ of communication to get through to the largest percentage of our people. We simply need to hear something seven times for it to get across. Add to that the very real and heightened sensitivity of COVID19. The plan and communication has to be crystal clear. This is also made even more complex by the range of people’s reactions to COVID19. Some may respond by thinking, ‘this is nothing, why aren’t we back to normal.’ While others may think ‘this is dangerous, and we should not be out at all’.
Keep it simple
As we prepare for some uncharted waters, like our own new schedule we’ve never had before, I have heard our team share frequently – this has to be simple and clear. We are working even now to strip away minute details with our communication pieces to just the basics. In other words, we want to answer the biggest questions. We want to respond to the biggest concerns. Then we describe the first steps. If subsequent steps and answers will come as people are literally on that path, there is no need to clutter the first round of instruction.
Say it multiple ways
The Communications Director in our organization, and our staff do an amazing job of helping us get the word out! There is a pretty massive message communicate over the next days as we relaunch our campus on May 31. It will involve sharing it in multiple ways: website, social media, e-newsletter, video, letter, card, and networking with leadership groups.
As we pilot our organizations through this new harbor, be confident of where you are headed. Narrow down and simplify what you need to communicate, and share it often and in multiple ways. And yes, stay calm and positive – we will get through this!