The pandemic has required rapid and comprehensive adaptation from all of us. From changes in working environments to shifts in customer needs, no part of our professional life has gone untouched. In the midst of all of this change, several leaders from EBSCO companies shared the lessons that they will hold on to moving forward.

Leticia Tatum

Valent Group

What would you say have been the most critical strengths or mindsets for leaders and team members to maintain throughout this time?

The ability to adapt in times of uncertainty is a critical strength for leaders. And a positive result of this has been increased innovation. Leaders at all levels are asking questions and developing solutions to better serve the needs of clients in these changing times.
 
In addition, resilience is a strength all team members have relied upon perhaps more now than ever, serving as a reminder that we are collectively working together to weather these tough times.
 
How has the pandemic changed the focus of your business, in general, or as it relates to customer service? New business approaches? Your team? New challenges? Opportunities?
 
We are thankful to be in an industry where our services are needed even amongst a pandemic. Our sales team was able to quickly shift from traditional in-person visits to utilizing technology such as video calls and teleconferences to conduct business. In addition, at the onset, our Employee Benefits team members were able to position themselves as thought leaders during the crisis, providing valuable information to existing and prospective clients ahead of many of our competitors.
 
The leveraging of technology continues to be a focus for our business. Taking advantage of this opportunity allows our team to differentiate themselves within our industry and serves as a tool for our agency to advance our sales process.
 
If you could give us a business “mantra” for this period, what would it be?
 
“Communicate often and extend grace.”
 
If you believe you have communicated something enough, communicate it again. Good communication, especially during uncertain times builds value in team members, which in turn contributes to an organization’s overall success.
 
It is also important to extend yourself and others grace as this is unchartered territory for everyone. We will not have all the answers and we may get it wrong sometimes, and that’s ok.
 

John Crouse

Consumer Subscription Services

What would you say have been the most critical strengths or mindsets for leaders and team members to maintain throughout this time?

 
For both leaders and team members, adaptability to new ways of communicating with co-workers, customers and your business leaders is critical. It is new for almost everyone. Those that travel to see customers, must embrace distance relationship building. The team member who is in constant communication with co-workers must find an alternative to popping their head into a co-worker’s space. Leaders must figure out how best to stay in touch with their team, while understanding the home-based work environment presents challenges for some employees. Everyone’s situation is unique, so we all need to recognize there is no set formula.
 
How has the pandemic changed the focus of your business, in general, or as it relates to customer service? New business approaches? Your team? New challenges? Opportunities?
 
In Consumer Subscription Services, our 3 main business lines had very different results: One was down, one up, and one unchanged. The approach will be to recover the first, keep the momentum going on the second, and work hard at growing the third.
 
If you could give us a business “mantra” for this period, what would it be?
“Adapt, Focus, Execute.”
 

Jim Brown

Vulcan Industries

What would you say have been the most critical strengths or mindsets for leaders and team members to maintain throughout this time?

 
The most critical mindset is perseverance.  I tell my team quite often that hurdles will be placed in the way of progress.  That is evitable in the best of times and the times that are full of opportunities.  Successful people will find a way around, over, or through every hurdle and do so with speed so that progress is not slowed.
 
If you could give us a business “mantra” for this period, what would it be?
 
“Keep pushing forward.  Don’t give-up, don’t ever give up.  Let nothing cause you to lose hope.  Let nothing reduce the drive with which you pursue the objective!”
 
 

Stacy Hamilton

Alys Beach

What would you say have been the most critical strengths or mindsets for leaders and team members to maintain throughout this time?

 
Keeping calm, staying focused and being prepared to react quickly to ever-changing information while also being transparent and authentic with your audiences. Flexibility, creativity and critical thinking are vital in crisis communications.
 
How has the pandemic changed the focus of your business, in general, or as it relates to customer service? New business approaches? Your team? New challenges? Opportunities?
 
With people not traveling long distances, wanting to remove themselves from large, densely populated cities and having the ability to remotely work/learn from anywhere, the reality of owning a second home in a beautiful coastal setting like Alys Beach has become very appealing.  This has most certainly been reflected in the spike in our real estate sales.
 
We’ve subtly adjusted our public-facing messaging/advertising to focus on the benefits of being at Alys Beach during a situation like this without directly pointing to the pandemic as a reason to consider Alys.
 
We’ve also established a transparent communications strategy with staff, our current owners, rentals guests and sales/rental prospects and event attendees as well as our tenants/merchants, builders, sub-contractors, vendors and the general public – the many audiences we need to communicate with each require their own set of talking points and operational updates.  Staying organized and logging all outbound communications has been necessary in this fast and ever-changing environment.  Excel has become my new best friend!
 
If you could give us a business “mantra” for this period, what would it be?
 
“We can’t change the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
 

Originally published in EBSCO Industries, Inc.‘s The Bugle, Oct. 2020