Lessons From Another Black Swan Event

BY Sarah Jilbert
3/30/2020 - COVID-19

In an effort to continue to try and provide our members with resources that are easy to consume, and relevant to their own businesses, we are taking some information that has been developed and trying to “pare it down” as much as possible so you can easily find the identified portions that are most beneficial.

One resource that has been created in the wake of the COVID-19 virus is a video series developed by Dirk Beveridge from UnleashWD.  In this particular video, “Learning From Another Black Swan Event: How our Hurricane Katrina Research Can Help You Engage Your Team, Customers, and Market”, Dirk interviews Jeanne Hurlbert, President of Hurlbert Consulting.

We have taken some time to pull some of the highlights and identify some important items that were covered, and then time stamp the video for easy access to everything that was covered in the video.



Tips to Stay Connected with Workforce

As a leader it's up to you to help employees connect to other people during this time- work related and friends/family. Encourage workers to talk about feelings and what all of this means. Provide counseling if possible. Connections are lost when teams begin working from home because they lose the day to day connections. What advice is there for teams working remotely?

  • Deliberately help your team make connections because not everyone will do it on their own.
  • Zoom and other web-based communication tools are important because you can see each other.
  • Be deliberate on how you structure virtual working teams. Also consider putting together social groups. You'll want a spark plug (someone who isn't going to stress out and will bring energy) and someone calm cool and collected on each team.
  • Try to cut the stress and stay connected during the workday.

Tips to Stay Connected with Customers

Connecting with the customer is very important during this time. Deliver as much value as you can to your customer right now- Amazon isn't going to be calling them on the phone checking in but you can. Many manufacturers and distributors are hesitant to create content- don't be! Now's the perfect time to innovate and create value.

Instead of asking customers "how are things" ask them more narrow questions like "what are you thinking about; what's on your mind?" Be careful when surveying customers. The questions need to be about them not about how you can collect information to sell them more product. Figure out what their biggest challenge is (don't assume you know) and how to generate opportunity and valuable content.

Be authentic with your customers. Show personal video and selfies. Show them we are all in this together. Talk about what's going on in your personal world. Show them your pets. Be human.

Final Thoughts

New Orleans recovered- we will too but it takes every single one of us to do that. Customers are going to remember what you did to serve them during this time so find a truly caring way to serve them. Go out and fight… don't be a turtle.

Video Timestamps:

0:41 Turtle mantra

1:45 Speaker intro

3:10 What studied from black swan event (Katrina) and how relevant to current situation

6:38 Depressed mood- defined and discussed

8:45 Pre and post Katrina depressed mood data

10:23 How to help your workforce emotionally deal with pandemic

12:54 How to keep day to day connection while working remotely

17:03 Delivering value to customers now

21:30 How to be authentic with customers

23:12 Social media disconnected society

24:16 What is most meaningful type of customer relationship right now?

25:47 Final thoughts

About UnleasedWD's video series

At UnleashWD our purpose is to unleash the human spirit.  And during this unprecedented time we felt compelled to support the UnleashWD tribe and our association partners with the right mix of inspiration and timely, relevant information.  We reached out to our network of wickedly smart subject matter experts to provide the sessions below.  In the words of one attendee - “This was amazing.  You’ve changed our day tomorrow.  We’ll be on the attack!”

We are a design, innovation, and strategy firm who transforms legacy distributors into nimble and innovative market leaders.  What you are about to experience is designed to unleash your spirit so like the individual above decided, you too will be on the attack!

We are here to support you through these next few months and beyond.  If we can do anything for you please reach out directly to either of us.

Dirk Beveridge                      Bethany Hepler
Founder                                VP of Design
dirk@unleashwd.com           bethany@unleashwd.com