May 6, 2020
Jacki HartWe have landed in a strange place. We should all be a month or more into celebrating an early spring start, poised to break sales records of past years. But this year, spring is full of fear, confusion, hesitation, stop-work orders, fines, tension, polarized debates, newly-laid-off staff, minimal cash flow and mixed messages to property owners and clients.

For me, each of the past six weeks have been filled with dozens of hours of working with business owners to CTRL>ALT>DEL on their plans for the year and helping them to pivot toward something else — something surreal and completely different. Finding calm and purposeful intention amid chaos and fear is hard work. It’s way harder than being in the customary slip stream of long spring hours and frenetic work days. And being intentional about emerging from the COVID-19 era, able to look back, proud of how we handled ourselves, our team, our business viability and our brand, is the key goal at the moment.

There are silver linings tangled in between the unanticipated conversations with staff, suppliers, customers and creditors. Silver linings that have emerged in ways least expected. For example, the team at Landscape Ontario have shown its members how much they care and how nimble they can be to support us. LO has cranked out a series of webinars aimed at providing information and updates at least a couple of times each week. I started twice-weekly, online video chats with hundreds of LO Peer to Peer Network members to offer resources, mentoring, hope, and connectedness in which many have found comfort in knowing they are not alone in their fight to survive through COVID-19. Giving members a place to share frustration and solutions has been an important part of helping them to regain their momentum and focus.

Countless volunteers have risen to the occasion to participate on committees, or to offer insight, knowledge and advice in online meetings and webinars — all to keep our profession informed and moving forward through unprecedented stress and disruption. All companies across this province have been forced to re-think, tighten up and show empathy.

Last month, I was asked by LO executive director, Tony DiGiovanni to moderate two webinars that included four of my professional business coach peers: Mark Bradley of LMN, Jim Paluch of JP Horizons, Phil Harwood of Grow The Bench and Jeffrey Scott of Jeffrey Scott Consulting. We talked about ‘what to do’ and ‘how to think’ through this crisis. Here, I will share some of the great advice that was discussed in that webinar, as a way to help you to keep moving forward.

Be conscious of your mindset

Judgment keeps us stuck. Acceptance moves us forward. Find the courage and resolve to accept that we are in an unprecedented situation. There’s no manual for this — yet. You’re going to have to think differently about your business more than ever before, to create new solutions and efficiencies that align with current reality. It might not be pretty, and you need to build your own bridge to success while you’re walking across it in the weeks and months ahead. Breathe. Focus. Grow Forward. Even if it seems counter-intuitive, you’ve GOT this.

Manage your stress level

Make time to unplug every week. Go outside. Have some fun. Decompress. You can’t lead others, or manage your company brand or bank account, if you’re overwhelmed. Pay attention to your ‘self-talk.’ Don’t panic. You’ve GOT this.

Focus on what you can control and what you can influence

Don’t spend time on things you can’t control. To help with this, answer three key questions:
   What has happened that I didn’t expect?
   So What does that mean to my business, cash flow, team, etc.? WRITE IT DOWN. ALL OF IT.
   Now What can I leverage and change to adapt and keep growing forward? WRITE DOWN EVERY IDEA, RESOURCE, RELATIONSHIP, etc. Devise a framework of a plan. Be nimble, and be prepared for a few ‘what if’ scenarios.

We are stronger together. Your company is stronger with you working hard to start with the end in mind: emerging from COVID-19 as a viable, stable, efficient company, with an engaged and grateful team and a loyal customer base. Onwards!

Owners and managers of Landscape Ontario members can join the Peer to Peer Network for free. Email
Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager