Communication changes in a time of crisis. This much we know from simple experience as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic in our homes, in our workplaces, in our communities, in our nation and in our world as a whole. Commercials from some of the world's most prestigious companies demonstrate the change. Zoom calls and individuals lounging at home in front of their laptops are the new normal even on the advertising screen. And beyond just technology, the words we must use to communicate effectively often change in a crisis as well.
Erica Dhawan, in an article titled, "How the Coronavirus Is Already Rewriting the Future of Business," tells us that developing communication norms that are prepared for information sharing across all types of channels are necessary before we need them in order to lead effectively through a crisis. We also know from earlier posts this week that proactive and strategic communication helps us to build trust, influencing the culture of our organization as a whole. Thus, the importance of continuing to consider proactive communication strategies cannot be overlooked in the work of crisis leadership. What can we continue to do before a crisis ever occurs to demonstrate excellent communication within our organization?
What is the Friday Focus?
Similar to the Monday Memo described yesterday, the Friday Focus is another built-in communication strategy for that can provide a sense of normalcy when a crisis arises. Unlike the Monday Memo, the Friday Focus wraps up the work week, and tends to be more responsive than proactive in content. While the Monday Memo sets us up for the pace of the week, the Friday Focus is reflective, and gives us closure and a sense of well-being before a weekend of (hopeful and anticipated) rest.
Due to the difference in content, the Friday Focus can often be more taxing to script. It requires a leader to reflect on the climate and culture of the organization over the course of the week, and then to find a way to validate the work that has been done while creating positive momentum forward through the cultivation of a growth mindset and self-improvement. This can be a fine line to walk, and requires the leader's own steadfastness to execute appropriately, especially at the end of a taxing week. Here are a few ways to help prepare a Friday Focus that is meaningful, with the appropriate level of emotion and enthusiasm, no matter what else has happened throughout the week.
The Monday Memo and the Friday Focus are two communication norms that set the tone for both the week and the weekend, demonstrating that you value not only your employee, but the human being you work with as well. Next, we will discuss some ways to create spaces for celebrations and connection as a way to continue to build our highly desired collaborative and dynamic team.