Resilient Leadership: Thriving in the Unknown

Jennifer Maher, David Chang, and Meredith Schmidt spoke at the Survive and Thrive Summit about communication during COVID and how important it is during these challenging times. Hosted and produced by Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Media, the first two Summits were held earlier in 2020. The next one will be in spring 2021. It's free. If you don't want to miss when registration opens up, sign up for our newsletter.

Communicating with your team and customers is key in any business. But getting the communication across properly is where the difficulty comes in. Have you ever felt your internal and external communication could be improved? Now is the time to really tighten it up — COVID-19 communication is important for many reasons. Keep reading to learn how to communicate effectively.

Experts in Communication

Meredith works at Salesforce and spoke about how technology can help small businesses connect with their audience. Right now, connecting to and staying in touch with your audience is extremely important. Salesforce is working on checking-in with customers rather than trying to sell them.

Meredith told us about a local butcher that has successfully pivoted its business model to offer fresh produce and other items that they didn’t have before.

This shift has garnered over 600 new customers during the health pandemic — proof that with the right moves you can be successful even during uncertain times. “Businesses are learning to be hybrid and how to connect and work in new ways that can support their customers' changing needs,” Meredith told us. 

The goal of the conversation should be, 'How can we support you?' It shouldn't be about making a sale. - Meredith Schmidt

It’s also important to note that Salesforce is offering its Salesforce Essentials out-of-box CRM free for 90 days. They want to help businesses get started with it successfully when it’s needed most. Essentials CRM helps businesses connect with customers, vendors, and more within a proper database that's easy and seamless to use.

Communication During COVID

David is an investor and has seen several different types of challenges. Generally, they fall into two categories — some businesses took off and became ultra-busy during this pandemic. Unfortunately, other businesses had no choice but to totally shut down.

David explains that pivoting towards goals will change, and that means changing the path you take toward the top. Leadership needs to communicate these shifts and goal changes with their team so that everyone understands the long-term and short-term outlooks. You want the junior people to the senior management team to understand these changes because they will help and ensure you get there. 

A Mentality Made for Shifting

Jennifer is the CEO of 1776, a community of entrepreneurs who are passionate about solving complex problems and work to revitalize cities along the Northeast Corridor in the process. By joining 1776, members access the knowledge, mentorship, capital, markets, and talent they need in order to scale.

Along with offering coworking space, 2776 also offers focused programming, curriculum, community, and expertise to help entrepreneurs grow their business. 

Business owners need to maintain a start-up mentality to be agile and shift quickly. Staying stuck in your ways won’t help when dramatic pivots need to happen quickly. 

Communication Strategies

David feels that internal and external communication is equally important. It’s ok to recognize that you’re vulnerable and that you don’t have all the answers. It actually goes a long way to connect and build trust and it's usually reciprocated as well.

Jennifer likes her team to over-communicate and uses this model for weekly and monthly meetings. (Though now there are daily leadership meetings to keep up with the fast-changing world.)

And when it comes to members, the focus is on how to support people with resources. 1176 is concerned more about retention right now and less about growth.

In fact, Jennifer’s team has been checking in with members individually to find out how they can be there to show support.


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