How to Maintain Vital Virtual Relationships in Uncertain Times

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On April 20, 2020

It’s fairly obvious that “business as usual” no longer applies to any of us. That’s why, for the next few weeks I plan to focus on things we can do to keep moving forward—even in uncertain times. I plan to take a look at essential thinking, planning, and execution—in light of some of the challenges we all currently face. I’m also very aware that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. While we’re all affected by the spread of COVID-19, not everyone is impacted in exactly the same way. My hope is that the principles I’ll be sharing will help you move forward in a way that’s appropriate for your specific situation.



 How to Maintain Vital Virtual Relationships in Uncertain Times

As increasing numbers of us are working remotely, it’s essential to work on our relationships in a new way. Technology is a great thing, and we’re thankful for platforms such as Zoom, Go-to-Meeting, Skype, and others. But technology only goes so far. It’s a tool, not a solution.

Remember: It’s About People Not Technology

Sometimes it’s easy for us to focus on all the cool tools and technologies that make a virtual relationship possible. But it’s important to remember that the focus needs to be on the people behind the screens rather than just the “whiz-bang” technology that’s being used.

Let’s go back in time to illustrate that point. When PowerPoint first came out it was a revolutionary tool that took presentations to a new level. We could easily present information in visually interesting ways. Some people used that technology creatively and thoughtfully. Others simply slapped their thoughts and notes into a new platform—and then did nothing more than read their slides to an audience. We all remember “Death by PowerPoint.”

We face the same dangers with video conferencing on Zoom, Go-to-Meeting, or Skype. It’s not enough to simply show business colleagues our faces (or to drop a PowerPoint presentation into the chat). We need to use these tools wisely—and purposefully.

Why Great Communication is Critical in Uncertain Times

I’ve written before about how important clear and regular communication. The need for quality communication grows exponentially in times of crisis and opportunity. We keep hearing about “The New Normal.” Nobody is yet sure about how that will look, but there is a common consensus that the way we do business will be changing. Employees need reassurance and information about how they are going to move forward. They also need to be reminded that there are key functions and activities that need to continue. But because the way those tasks are accomplished will likely change, you need to make sure your employees are informed—and supported.

Maintaining Culture

Staying in touch online is about more than simply disseminating information. It allows you to maintain—or even reshape—your company’s culture. While the crisis we’re currently experiencing has the potential to fracture companies, it also presents the potential to bring companies together.

It’s quite interesting how individuals within the entertainment industry have pivoted and adapted to the new reality. Television personalities, musicians, sports figures and others have come up with new ways to stay in front of their audiences—and to encourage them.

As a business leader, you need to stay in front of your employees and create an atmosphere that reminds them that you will all get through this together. Remind them of your vision. Assure them that you’re working on solutions. And solicit their input for ways to make things work differently and better.

What About Recruitment and HR?

If you’re serious about scaling up, your need for hiring the right people is only going to increase. Right now, a lot of companies are laying people off. That can be good news for you. You may not be in a position to hire right at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop looking for the right people to help you scale up—even in uncertain times.

Naturally, you’ll need to do that differently than you have in the past. One of the tools that may be of particular use is a webinar that examines some best practices for times such as this. Originally broadcast live on March 25, 2020, you can watch the recording of Going Remote: Best Practices for HR & Recruitment. I invite you to check out this video along with other resources we’ve made available to help you scale up in these uncertain times.

Use “Down Time” to Prepare Yourself

In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to focus exclusively on current concerns. Of course, you need to do that, but you also need to keep a long-range perspective. The current crisis will pass. Keep in mind where you want to be down the road. Focus on the essentials of scaling. Avoid the traps that can sidetrack you when things finally settle down. I encourage you to download our free How to Avoid the Growth Traps eBook to help you do that.

Stay safe and keep scaling!