Navigating COVID-19: Practical Advice from a Key4Women Expert – Jane Scudder
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.
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."