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Words matter. Are you communicating effectively?

 31 March 2020     Donald Cooper 

Greetings, fellow ‘quarantiners’! Hope you’re safe and well. As business owners, leaders or managers, our customers and team members are looking to us for clarity and confidence right now. Are you keeping in touch with customers to tell them if you’re open or closed, what your new hours are and what you’re doing to keep everybody safe? Remind them how you can be helpful. Customers also want to know what you’re doing to help your staff through this mess.

For some businesses, sales have stopped dead, for others sales have slowed and for a few, business is booming. The pain is very real, but it’s uneven. And some businesses have much deeper pockets than others, so they can do more to be helpful and kind. I just read about a commercial landlord in Atlanta who told his restaurant tenant not to pay rent while his restaurant is closed but, instead, to pay that money to his staff. How cool is that? Have you combined creativity, courage and kindness to do whatever you can in both your personal and your business life? What neighbours, friends or family will you help, encourage or uplift?

Are you communicating honestly, frequently and compassionately with your team? Are you doing everything possible to help them financially and emotionally? You can’t jeopardize the very existence of your business but do everything you can. Don’t make financial promises you can’t keep if this shutdown lasts a few months – because it probably will.

Words matter. When communicating with your team chose your words carefully. You’re not ‘scared’, you’re ‘very concerned’ and working on solutions or next steps. As leaders, we don’t have the luxury of being ‘scared’.

Be sure to communicate your gratitude to the essential service workers who are keeping us fed, medicated and well stocked with gasoline or toilet paper. And when this mess is finally over, don’t stop thanking them. Gratitude matters. It uplifts everybody and costs you nothing!

Finally, what are you communicating to yourself? Are you feeding your brain with words of fear, doubt and desperation or words of confidence and determination? Words matter. Words affect outcomes. Are you using this time to grow yourself and your team to better prepare your business to be extraordinary on the other side of this? This week we’ve signed on two more Biz Coaching clients who want to use this ‘slow time’ as ‘get better time’. Attitude matters. We’ll be happy to chat with you about what that might look like in your business. It can be done remotely (electronically) and, therefore, safely. One of our coaching clients is 2,000 miles away. Now that’s social distancing!

I can be reached at [email protected].

Mini Rant: While I have your attention, what is it with those thousands of young people cavorting en masse on the beaches of Florida for March Break week while the rest of us practicing social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19? Aren’t these the same young people who claim to be so environmentally and socially responsible and committed to saving the world we ‘old people’ apparently screwed up so badly? When interviewed, one of them stated, “Why should we put our lives on hold just because of some flu?” Give me a break!

Stay safe…stay well…stay kind…stay joyful.


Las Vegas Market Summer 2020 (2)
Cocoon by Sealy
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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