Ten Tips to Ground Yourself and Your Organization During Uncertain Times
As we get deeper into 2021, our world seems more uncertain than ever. Yet our current situation is not totally unforeseen. On May 6, 2020, I shared a few thoughts about what the remainder of 2020 (and beyond) might bring. One of those thoughts seems especially resonant right now. I wrote:
High level(s) of distrust and suspicion among citizens with different beliefs about our shared reality. This will exacerbate polarization across communities. And, it will result in the continued politicization of our health and economic situation as well as disagreement over future courses of action.
And here we are. Our continued disagreement is manifesting in uncertainty that shows no sign of ending any time soon. With this being the case, now is the time to redouble your efforts to control what is actually within your control—and that means staying grounded. Here are a few recommendations for how to do that throughout 2021.
5 Tips to Help You Get Grounded
1. Do something familiar.
Familiar activities have power. They impose structure and create comfort. Give yourself permission to engage in familiar pursuits, and comfort will follow.
Speaking of comfort…
2. Create a conscious routine of small comfort.
This is a two-part suggestion, with the most crucial part being the creation of a routine. The routine could be as simple as making your coffee in the morning instead of buying it. The key is to establish the routine, and, instead of flying through it without thinking, be deliberate with your actions. If you are intentional, both a sense of comfort and peace of mind will follow.
3. Do something brand new.
One way to deal with uncertainty is by leaning directly into it and racking up new accomplishments. Have you always wanted to learn how to play guitar? What about figuring out that cryptocurrency thing everyone keeps talking about? Or perhaps you can venture out on that hiking trail you’ve had on your “to do” list. Now’s your chance.
4. Go deep.
You’re already very good at something—and perhaps you excel at multiple things. Embrace the opportunity to become even better. Being a subject matter expert can be a source of comfort. Also, increasing your expertise will engender a sense of accomplishment. Now get to it—especially if your goal is to approach the 10,000-hour rule proposed by Malcolm Gladwell.
5. Stay active.
It doesn’t matter if you go for a walk or put that Peloton equipment through its paces; the key is to be active. There’s a reason that snappy dialogue in movies and television shows often occurs while the characters are walking. Movement creates a sense of forward momentum. And momentum feels like progress. So, get active. (And enjoy the health benefits that come from it, too.)
There is no one way to feel certain during uncertain times. However, holding the reins on what is within your control will help you stay grounded and stable for everyone who depends on you. Now let’s turn our attention to what you can do to ground the people within your organization.
5 Tips for How You Can Keep Others in Your Organization Grounded
1. Be candid and transparent.
Part of Stewart Brand’s famous aphorism is that “Information wants to be free.”
If you accept this premise—and recognize that no one likes to be kept in the dark—then it’s pretty clear that candor and transparency will create a great deal of loyalty within your organization. Make as much organizational information as free as practicable. Remember that no one likes being treated like a mushroom (living in the dark and subject to a diet that leaves a great deal to be desired).
In conjunction with the need for candor and transparency comes the need to communicate frequently and repetitively. Just because you’ve said it once (or ten times) doesn’t mean that it’s been heard. Once you understand that messages must be communicated repeatedly AND placed in the language of the recipient, you’re off to a good start.
3. Focus on what matters.
Many small organizations suffer from priority whiplash. This occurs when the leader either moves the goalposts, rearranges priorities every other month, or generally takes employees on a never-ending Tilt-a-Whirl ride. If you avoid the temptation to continually change your organizational priorities, your people will be able to understand what matters and stay focused on achieving those results.
4. Show them love.
“Showing love” is a difficult idea for many leaders, and the concept directly relates to my point below “Be a refuge.” Humans want to be appreciated. There are many ways to make this happen both individually and collectively. I’m not telling you to purchase bean bag chairs and ping pong tables for the office lounge or send your employees chocolates on Valentine’s Day. However, you should consider ways to ensure your people are appreciated and their value recognized. P.S. End-of-year bonuses and other enhanced compensation are not enough.
5. Be a refuge.
The world is a confusing and challenging place. Still, your organization can be a place of sanctuary and stability for employees. No one wants to work in an environment lacking kindness, structure, and continuity. Creating a supportive space for employees may sound “touchy-feely,” but it will make your workplace appealing and empowering and your employees more productive.
Keep Success Within Your Grasp by Weaving a Well-Grounded Workplace
2021 is far from over, and it will undoubtedly have a few more surprises in store for all of us. Consider my tips for keeping yourself and your organization grounded so that everyone on your team is prepared to weather uncertainty. If you can thread that needle, you will sew confidence and comfort into the fabric of your company to keep it strong and resilient under whatever pressures are ahead.
Remember, I’m just a phone call, email, or click away if you want to chat about ways to get grounded!