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While we all may feel a bit disconnected from our routines, our workplaces, co-workers and friends, the extended Key4Women® team is busy leaning in to bring practical advice to others during this time of disruption resulting from COVID-19.

"What we realize, more at this time than ever, is that the relationships we’ve built together over the past 15 years through this network are steadfast and dedicated to helping each other for the greater good," said Barb Smith, Director, Key4Women. "We can proudly say that our Key4Women members in communities across the nation are strong strategists, experts at flexibility, calm leaders in the face of crisis,and niche professionals who willingly band together for the future success of one another – even in the most uncertain of times."

Here are some thoughts and advice from one of our experts at Key4Women:

Jane Scudder, Leadership & Organizational Development, Trainer and Coach
CEO, The New Exec

Perspective During COVID-19

"'Don’t build your roof in a rainstorm' is normally my advice for those developing their network; however, these are not normal times," said Scudder, small business owner and leadership coach. "If you have the time – and many do right now – outreach can be fruitful." COVID-19 has brought with it a focus on relationships, the desire to help and a higher frequency of checking in.

COVID-19 aside, networking and advisers are critical to small business owners, according to Scudder. "I’ve used my network for everything from financial advice when I was a young professional, to the pricing of my most complex contract as a business owner."

From a social distancing perspective, LinkedIn is the go-to source to find and make connections. Like other relationships in your life – familial, romantic, friendship – you need to allow time for nurturing and growth. A first touch with a new connection may be a comment on a post you were impressed with. The next step may be exchanging a few questions and answers. Stretch out your first few touches and ease into the new relationship.

Advice

Scudder’s advice for business owners during this stressful time is to choose activities that provide micromoments of accomplishment. From a business perspective, use any extra time to get your back room in order. Things that you normally put off could use your attention now. Pricing, product and website updates, inventory cleanup – all of those things that take time and concentration are fair game and will give you a feeling of fulfillment to complete.

Also, from a business perspective, widen your lens as you look at your company. Zoom out from now to an 18-, 24- or 36-month view and plan accordingly. Be in it for the long haul.

An Enlightening Observation

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn." – Elizabeth Lawrence

On a personal level, it may be time to take a breather. Scudder believes business owners can be typically high-energy, driven, busy individuals. COVID-19 is setting a new pace for us all; let yourself settle into it and be flexible with yourself. The goal might be to come out of this stressful time with a clearer mind.

"Clean out the closet at 2 p.m., if you need to," Scudder said. "If you are mentally drained and need a distraction, allow yourself that flexibility. I am surprised how flexible I’ve become in only a few weeks. Embrace the small victories."

The Support You Need

For more Key4Women resources to help you reach your goals, visit key.com/women, or email us to learn more.

Would you like to weigh in on future topics? Please take our survey.

For more information about Jane Scudder, visit TheNewExec.com.

About Jane Scudder

Jane is a certified coach, corporate anthropologist, facilitator and speaker. Her work spans leadership and executive coaching, personal development (life coaching), business growth, career transition and political coaching. She supports individuals and groups to make progress on positive, sustainable change. Bringing an empathetic and intuitive coaching perspective, she helps people find and succeed at what’s next for them, guiding them through transitions while supporting them to build enhanced visions for their lives, leadership, executive presence, communications, emotional intelligence and overall effectiveness and fulfillment.

This material is presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual tax or financial advice. KeyBank does not provide legal advice.

KeyBank may have current positions or strategies that may be inconsistent with any views expressed herein.

Key4Women is a registered trademark of KeyCorp.

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