Feature Article

COVID-19 – the Catalyst to Enhanced Performance

By Julie Markee, Key Process Innovations T

he global pandemic has turned our worlds upside-down. Everything from dining out to educating our

children to running our businesses has changed. In the investment casting industry, some businesses have been thriving, while others have struggled to stay afloat. Regardless of the impact, we have all been forced to change the way we approach daily life. However, leveraging these changes can also be a catalyst to enhanced performance. Some of the areas which have the greatest possibility for impact include caring for the individual, strengthening the team, keeping score and leveraging technology.

Caring for the Individual COVID-19 has forced business to make drastic changes to ensure employee safety. While implementing these changes was critical, the impact they’ve had on individual employees may have been overlooked. According to a recent Gallop poll, one of the keys to employee engagement is having friends at work. So, as employees were forced to maintain a “social” distance, even during breaks, the outcome was increased stress and disengaged employees. Remote learning was another

source of stress for employees with children. Neither schools nor parents were prepared for the difficulties this caused. In a typical family, this meant juggling the demands of work with the responsibility of keeping children engaged with their school work. The result was exhausted and overworked parents/employees who were being torn in different directions. As COVID-19 response plans were

developed and implemented, nearly every executive I spoke with shared this was the most stressful time of their


careers. They were balancing the safety of their employees, their customers, and their families, while being concerned about the viability of their businesses. During periods of stress, it is

critical to care for yourself including eating a healthy diet, finding time to exercise, and periods of uninterrupted sleep. Caring for yourself will provide the energy and focus to care for the business and employees. In addition, every manager, president, or CEO should schedule some clarity breaks to stop working in the business and start working on the business. These breaks allow the manager to take a 40,000 foot view of the business and make course corrections in order to keep their areas of responsibility and the business on track1


Strengthening the Team Many employees feared they would lose their job when the pandemic started. And unfortunately, many did. However, operating from a place of fear leads to declining performance, reduced

decision-making ability, and in some cases, irrational behavior. During periods of crisis, the

temptation is to throw the existing processes aside and move to reactionary mode. But it isn’t realistic to reduce chaos by adding more chaos. Instead, leadership should utilize the processes that are currently in place and focus on what has been successful in the past. In order to help reduce employee

fear, leaders need to provide a vision for their employees so they can see how the company will weather the storm. Even if a vision for the organization is already in place, the global marketplace has changed and it may be necessary to revise the vision based on this new reality. A powerful tool that can help the leadership team establish the vision and the path towards achieving that vision is the VTO2

or the Vision Traction

Organizer™. To the extent that the leadership team is aligned on that path, achieving that future is much easier.

Continued on pg 18 November 2020 ❘ 17

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