Overcoming F.E.A.R. During COVID Uncertainty

Overcoming F.E.A.R. During COVID Uncertainty

Overcoming F.E.A.R. During COVID Uncertainty

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 15, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a speaker, author, and business coach. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change, and drive growth.

 

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Virtual Training During and Beyond the COVID PandemicThe acronym for F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. 

 

When you’re dealing with the unknown, facts are changing daily, experts are predicting very different outcomes, and the media, politicians and your own predilections are distorting the information you’re processing. This makes it really difficult to discern false evidence from real facts.

In defense of all the stakeholders in the distribution of information, no one has an incredibly clear picture of what reality is right now, and they certainly have no idea about what the outcome will be in the future.

When we’re facing a very real threat to ourselves, our families and indeed our way of life, fear can rise up pretty quickly.

On top of these very personal threats to their wellbeing, my consulting clients are faced with additional fears. Fears for their team members’ wellbeing, fear of their loss of ability to serve their customers, and fear for their businesses and livelihoods. 

These are seriously stressful times!

As I’m working with my clients in these uncertain times, one of the most important roles I fulfill is to try and sift through the fear-based information and the fact-based information.

That might seem really straight forward, but often it is not. 

Fear creeps in when things change. Change in and of itself creates fear.

Very often, the fear change generates is misplaced and never comes to fruition. But that’s easy to say, harder to determine and very hard to convey when people’s backs are against the wall.

Fear Paralysis

Recently, I was working through options with a senior manager for a company I am working with and I kept hearing his mind’s projections into the future where he was re-inventing and re-experiencing realities that did not and might never exist. He was telling me why we couldn’t shift to virtual training and why we had to hunker down and hope that this all goes away really quickly. And that the best we could hope for is that this would someday seem like a bad dream.

He was completely paralyzed by fear and couldn’t see his way through it. As a result, he shut down and refused to think creatively.

Wishing and hoping this crisis away is a lot like playing the lottery. You know it’s not likely (in fact it’s damn near impossible) but you hope anyway.

What we need to do in times like these is look at the unvarnished truth as we know it today: 

  1. This thing is not going away anytime soon
  2. Everyone’s in the same boat
  3. Hunkering down and not taking affirmative action is foolish
  4. Assuming the worst is also a fool’s errand
  5. Not preparing for the worst is even more foolish

The truth is that we need to tackle this crisis on an hour by hour, day by day, and month by month basis.

We can’t project an end to the suffering, but we can plot a course that allows for a number of potential end points and work towards those with focus and determination.

As some of those endpoints pass us by and we are still in crisis mode, we need to realign our next set of projections and focus once again.

There is no predicting the likely outcome of this spiraling mass of chaos, but as with the Chaos Theory, very small changes can have far reaching impacts.

Chaos Theory

In the Chaos Theory, initial conditions are considered extremely important. If you look at the response by countries and states across the globe, you can see that where early and affirmative action was taken, outcomes improved more quickly.

This is a great lesson: early and affirmative action

A second element of the Chaos Theory is unpredictability. One thing we know with certainty is that the ultimate outcome of this global event cannot possibly be predicted accurately. If for no other reason, the sheer magnitude of variables in a global event like this make predicting an outcome impossible.

The lesson in this is to focus on the things you can change and don’t get distracted by all the variables that are out of your control.

It is easy to get consumed by the what ifs and let the overwhelming amount of information cloud our view. Fear stalks us all in these challenging times and channeling your focus, time and energy into productive pursuits is tough.

If you’re struggling to see any light at the end of this long tunnel, I would suggest you focus on the process and not the outcome. Take action where and when you can.

And don’t get caught up in the things that remain unknown or out of your control.

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Virtual Training During and Beyond COVID-19

Virtual Training During and Beyond COVID-19

Virtual Training During and Beyond the COVID Pandemic

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 7, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Virtual Training During and Beyond the COVID Pandemic | StudioI have spent a great deal of time in front of teams and audiences presenting training, workshops and information. I truly enjoy the visceral experience and connection this creates for me and my audiences.

With the onset of the Coronavirus, scheduled trainings and conferences started dropping off everyone’s calendars and huge holes emerged in ongoing education and training programs. What a strange turn of events and yet a great opportunity to embrace the many benefits of virtual training.

I have worked with several online training platforms in the past and was familiar with the efficiencies and conveniences afforded by virtual modalities.

Now, I find myself having to truly embrace these options and schedule virtual trainings for clients to continue programs that were already in motion, or to add new programs.

As I started building more online resources, fitted up a sound recording studio, and tried various platforms, I became acutely aware of the many acknowledged and unacknowledged virtues on virtual training.

 

1. Scalability

Virtual Training allows the number of participants to increase or decrease without causing logistical challenges. In a classroom or auditorium, obvious physical limits exist. Virtual training can work for 2-3 attendees, or thousands.

2. Accessibility

Whether your participants are in Charleston or Sydney, they can participate in a virtual training session. This is hugely beneficial to companies with team members scattered over the country, or the globe. 

3. Affordability

There are many financial benefits to virtual training, including savings on travel costs and venue related expenses. Depending on the type of training, adding additional participants represents incremental cost increases.

4. Convenience

When the training is being delivered in real-time, the participants can log in from home, onsite, or a remote location. When the training is pre-packaged, participants can take part at a time that’s convenient for their schedule.

5. Improved Retention

When the training is being recorded, or when it is prepackaged, the participant can review the content at their convenience and this can help improve their retention of the information. This asynchronous format can provide time for participants to absorb and review that they wouldn’t have in a real-time scenario. This format also allows for smaller bites to be consumed and for microlearning to make more financial sense in this forum.

6. Increased Participation and Engagement

Online training platforms allow for chat forums, rating tools, pop quizzes, and other participation tools. For those participants that are less likely to interact in a classroom situation, the virtual realm can be less intimidating. There are also tools for participation monitoring that can ensure the participant is engaged.

7. Immediate Feedback

Online training platforms can provide immediate feedback to participants and facilitators to ensure that course content is being absorbed. This real-time feedback helps comprehension and course development.

8. Blending Facilitators

With virtual training, facilitators can contribute from other cities, states or countries. This can add perspectives to training that may not be easily replicable under normal circumstances.

9. Customization

The virtual training platform allows for customized content, just the same as in-person delivery. And because of feedback mechanisms, real-time content can be melded to meet the participant’s needs equally as well.

NOTE: Rarely do I deliver ‘packaged content’ and the discovery process with a client allows me to customize content to get the optimal outcomes. Custom virtual training should also be preceded by virtual meetings with stakeholders to ensure the content is on point and relatable.

As with all things, there are also some drawbacks with a virtual interface and here’s a couple to be aware of: 

  1. This learning experience may feel less personal for some participants. 
  2. Interfaces can be problematic, bandwidth can cause problems, tech is not always seamless.
  3. There is a reduced direct interaction between participants which is good during a pandemic, not so good for shared learning under normal circumstances.
  4. There are very limited opportunities for team building exercises. 
  5. Poor quality sound or visuals can make the experience lackluster.

I am always going to enjoy the opportunity to interact with my audiences in person, but virtual training is a very real part of our lives these days and can offer many advantages. 

As a member of the business community, you’re likely reconsidering how you do business and what training and education might look like in this new era. Those of us that provide training and education are also needing to consider our options and will no doubt have to invest in more virtual training offerings as the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds. 

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The Upside of the Downside – 24 Things To Do During COVID Lockdown

The Upside of the Downside – 24 Things To Do During COVID Lockdown

The Upside of the Downside – 24 Things To Do During COVID Lockdown

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 2, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | The Upside of the Downside - 24 Things To Do During COVID Lockdown | Paddleboarding

On one hand, the COVID pandemic is forcing us to isolate ourselves. On the other, it is bringing families back together and getting people outside.

My wife and I typically get outside whenever and wherever we can. Sometimes it’s for a mountain bike ride or run, sometimes paddle boarding, sometimes just for a walk.

Our motivation is to get some exercise, a little Vitamin D, and to diversify our microbiome.

Whenever possible, we take the kids with us and involve them. 

Since COVID restrictions have been ramping up, we’ve seen more and more families out and about with their kids. The bike trails have been more heavily populated than ever and the reservoir we paddle on has been a lot busier than usual.

I am sure many of these people and families would normally be going to the gym, or maybe doing something at home. Others may not normally do regular exercise or get outside, but as cabin fever sets in people are looking for any opportunity to get out of the house and do something.

To me, this is the upside of the downside.

This pandemic is a very real crisis for our communities and to increase our isolation in an increasingly digitally (dis)connected world is not good.

Being thrust back into our family units and rediscovering the joys of doing things together is a very real benefit.

Kids that were at school during the day are back in the household and as boredom sets in, creativity starts to blossom. There is a limit to how many movies or shows we can watch and I am starting to see and hear of creative ways people are trying to break the boredom.

Here are some assorted suggestions and thoughts: 

 

  1. Get out in the garden, pull some weeds and get set for Spring.
  2. Clear out the basement, or that junk room, it’s way overdue!
  3. Refurbish something, maybe that old chair or lamp?
  4. Redecorate, simplify, rearrange.
  5. Tackle your winter closet and get set for Spring.
  6. Go walking or hiking, off the beaten track.
  7. Do an online family yoga class in the living room.
  8. Begin that meditation practice you have been thinking about forever.
  9. Reach back out to long lost friends, maybe even write a letter or two?
  10. Do some online learning!
  11. Play video games with your kids.
  12. Phone a friend, or three (FaceTime is even better).
  13. Play music! Take turns, and listen to everyone’s music.
  14. Begin a pushup challenge with a friend. Send your pushup video daily!
  15. Read a book!
  16. Have a TED Talk afternoon.
  17. Rotate cooking responsibilities with everyone and try some new recipes.
  18. Put together your goals and wish list for post-Coronavirus!
  19. Begin journaling.
  20. Have picnics in the front yard, or backyard, or both!
  21. Go for a drive somewhere new and scenic.
  22. Get those bikes dusted off and go for a pedal.
  23. Go for a walk down memory lane with your old photos and videos.
  24. Get your paint brushes out. Paint a wall or a masterpiece.

Whatever you do, treat this as a time to reconnect with your family, friends, and Mother Nature. Try something new or get back into something you used to love and have not had time to do.

This can be a time of reflection and renewal. Opportunity abounds in the adversity our community is facing at present.

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Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple Communication Tool for You and Your Team During COVID

Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple Communication Tool for You and Your Team During COVID

Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple & Effective Communication Tool for You and Your Team During COVID-19

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 17, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting Blog | Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple Communication Tool for Your and Your Team During COVIDMonday through Friday every week, first thing in the morning, I facilitate a Virtual Stand Up with a management team I am consulting with. This helps the department heads stay connected, even though they’re not in the same physical work environment at the moment.

This daily Virtual Stand-Up reduces miscommunication, increases camaraderie, helps keep team members focused, and ultimately provides a community for people who are getting more and more disconnected as this pandemic expands its grip on our world.

Getting your team together for a daily Virtual Stand-Up can be fun, fulfilling and emotionally fortifying.

Daily virtual huddles might seem a bit much, but can be incredibly productive when you have the right guidelines in place.

Verne Harnish has championed a huddle concept he calls the “Daily Stand-Up”. The Stand-Up model covers three basic things:

What did you do yesterday? 

What are you planning to do today? 

Do you have any unique challenges you are currently facing?

The real beauty of this model is that each participant only has 60 seconds to download those three update items. This means that if you have 10 people on your team, the meeting should take no longer than 10 minutes.

From my experience, the most productive element of this format is declaring what we’re up to today. Some team members approach the day with plans in place, but most just wing it. This format asks those team members to be more proactive and less reactive.

Because of the nature of this format, it is very efficient. It needs a facilitator to manage people’s time and keep things on track, but from my experience, after a few meetings team members pick up the protocol really well and find it incredibly valuable. 

 

» Here are some simple tips to ensure a successful Virtual Stand-Up:

  • VIDEO CONFERENCE
  • 60 SECONDS PER PERSON: 

     What did you do yesterday? 

     What are you planning to do today? 

     Do you have any unique challenges you are currently facing?

1. RELEVANT TOPICS

Ensure the topics team members present are relevant to the group. If they need to inform another team member of something, or have a discussion with them one-on-one, this is not the forum. Instead, encourage them to have the conversation independently.

2. HIGHLIGHTS ONLY

When team members review what they did yesterday, they need to focus on highlights only. The same applies to their plans for today. NOTE: When reviewing yesterday on a Monday, we refer back to Friday’s events.

3. SHARING UNIQUE CHALLENGES

When reviewing any unique challenges they are facing, these should be things that are impeding progress or causing them undue angst. This does not include things that apply to everyone like the weather, or this pandemic. An example would be, “My internet is down at home.” This is good for others to know and obviously is a relevant issue given the current lockdowns.

4. USE A TIMER

Initially, use a timer. This won’t be necessary for the long term, but people will initially give more detail than needed and when the buzzer goes off it is a good reminder to keep it short.

5. ENCOURAGE OFFLINE CONVERSATIONS

If a team member goes off on a tangent or a conversation starts up between two people, the facilitator needs to interject and suggest they take the conversation offline after the call. They can even stay on the call after everyone else drops off, or schedule a separate call or meeting.

6. ALWAYS START ON TIME

Always start the meeting on time. Team members will learn that this is a short, sharp and functional opportunity to stay connected and dialing in on time is expected.

7. USE A RELIABLE VIDEO CONFERENCING TOOL

Use a reliable conferencing tool. I usually use Google Hangouts and put the meeting on repeat so that people have it on their calendar and can dial in easily. There are lots of free conferencing tools out there, so take your pick. 

8. REDUCE BACKGROUND NOISE

Encourage team members to mute their devices when they’re not talking in order to reduce background noise.

9. VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO!

As often as possible, I suggest doing a video call instead of a phone call. Some teams do a video call every time. This leaves less room for distractions and miscommunication as it’s much easier for people to read each other’s emotions when they can see each other.

If you limit each team member to 60 seconds and stick to this routine, you’ll quickly experience the benefits. These meetings can be critical in keeping your team on track and maintaining your work community. 

I have used this format in many scenarios, but never quite as beneficially as today.

We need each other more than ever, and having simple and productive rituals like Virtual Stand Ups will help your team stay aligned, productive and connected.

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The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™
13 Tips to Help Your Business Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic

13 Tips to Help Your Business Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic

13 Tips to Help Your Business Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | March 30, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, executive coach, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | 13 Tips to Help Your Business Survive the Coronavirus PandemicBusiness is in turmoil across the globe as we attempt to navigate this new world order.

As I work with my clients on the many intricacies of their individual predicaments, a few common themes are emerging. The biggest challenge amid the uncertainty is how long this might go on and what the aftermath might look like. 

What we do know is that we can’t change the volatile marketplace or the nature of the pandemic itself. However, focusing your time and energy on the things you do have the ability to influence allows you to exert control over some aspects of the situation.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the uncertainty that surrounds us at present. Yet there are always opportunities in the uncertainty, when we work with our teams and customers to rise above these stressful times.

Here are 13 tips to consider as you continue to contemplate your way forward:

1. FAMILY

Take care of yourself, your family, and loved ones. This should always be Job #1! 

2. QUALIFY INFORMATION

Ensure that the information you are basing your decision making on comes from trusted sources. Ideally, your information should come from known sources such as your accountant or business consultant, as well as your local, state or federal government agencies and health organizations. Beware of social media “news” that is unsubstantiated and not being reported by the mainstream media. Check sources where possible and get multiple data points, rather than relying on one source.

3. ASSESS YOUR RISKS

Be aware and responsive to restrictions that impact you, your business, and your team. Review your operational risks and update any risk assessments where appropriate. Reduce or negate personal and professional travel.

4. COMMUNICATION

Communicate regularly with your stakeholders, team, customers, community, vendors and suppliers. I’d recommend over-communicating at this juncture. This will help maintain trust and connectedness with your constituencies. Use video conferencing where possible, it’s that much more personal than an email or phone call!

If you have to either let team members go or have to furlow them, communicate your long-term intentions and stay in touch regularly. If and when your business starts up again, there is a better chance your people will be available if you have remained in contact.

5. REMOTE WORK POLICY

If your team is operating remotely, implement a remote work policy (if you do not already have one). This helps mitigate confusion and clarify expectations of communication rhythms. It can also spell out when team members need to be available, and deliverables should be clearly defined. 

6. EMPATHY & FLEXIBILITY

Your team members may need additional flexibility with kids being out of school and other unexpected demands. Have empathy for their predicaments and afford them concessions where you can.

7. CATCH UP AND/OR GET AHEAD

Take advantage of the downtime to get preventative maintenance done. If there are projects that you have put off because of potential interruptions to trade, use this hiatus to get the work completed. Get some of those jobs that have been hanging over your head done, both at work and at home.

8. GO VIRTUAL

If you are a service-centric business, ask yourself if you could bring some of your products online? Is there any way to keep some cash flowing by providing virtual versions of what you would normally offer?

9. GET ASSISTANCE

Determine what assistance you can get from government and industry initiatives. Consult with your accountant or business consultant to determine if you’re maximizing available resources.

10. REVIEW & RENEGOTIATE

Review your leases, subscriptions, vendor and supplier arrangements to ensure you are minimizing costs where possible. Determine if there are any negotiables that would help you reduce your burn rate, or improve your cash flow.

11. SECURE YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN

Supply chains are being severely impacted, stressed and even broken in some cases. If you rely on supply chains, find out what assurances and redundancies you can put in place to mitigate any disruptions. Alternate suppliers may be looking for business and you may obtain some benefits from exploring options at this critical time. 

12. LEARN

Take this time to do some online learning and promote opportunities for your team to improve their skills while there’s downtime. There are a plethora of webinars and online learning platforms that cover the gamut. You can even get virtual training specifically for your team and needs.

13. REBOUND STRATEGY

Start running scenarios for recovery. Try and add as much flexibility as possible into the timing of these efforts. Start fleshing out your strategy to get back to business as usual as seamlessly as possible. Work from worst case scenario through to best case scenario and adjust the plan as more certainty unfolds and you get more information.

The best way to prepare is to consider all options and create contingency plans that allow you the flexibility to minimize impact on your business and your team. This will take constant tweaks and occasional pivots, but the more prepared you are, the better chance you have of navigating through these uncharted waters.

Many of my clients have had to make significant adjustments to the way they do business in the face of this potentially catastrophic event, but they are intent on being as prepared as possible and leveraging the opportunities that abound in these scenarios.  

Whatever your situation may be, we hope that you, your family, and loved ones remain safe and well. If we support each other and align our efforts, this crisis will pass and many good things will unfold as we work together as families, businesses and communities.

Let's Connect!

COURSES & WORKSHOPS | SPEAKING | EVENTS | COACHING

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU'D like to collaborate with us. MINDFUL LEADERSHIP PODCAST COMING SOON, BE OUR GUEST!

Or call 434.996.5510

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | Business Consultant | Coach |The Affinity Principle | Best Seller Logo

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™