Leading Your Team Through a Global Pandemic

Corbin Smith
KnowHow Team Member
Leading a company is no easy task, even during the best of times. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and all the sudden being a CEO and having to lead a team through unprecedented times becomes exhausting, stressful, and at best challenging.

However, as one of our recent webinar panelists Mark Springer quoted from the late John Wayne, “Courage is being scared spitless, and saddling up anyway”.

It takes a lot of courage to be a CEO, and KnowHow was lucky enough to host three of the most courageous CEO’s out there in our recent webinar ‘How are Restoration Industry CEO’s Responding to COVID-19’.

Our panel of restoration industry CEOs included Rich Wilson of Paul Davis Restoration, Mark Springer of the Restoration Industry Association, and Dan Cassara of CORE Group.

Here’s what our expert panel had to say:

How CEOs Have Responded to the Challenges of COVID-19

This pandemic has been challenging for everyone, to say the least. COVID-19 has impacted businesses of all sizes, and as a result, this has created many new obstacles which CEOs must face head-on. So how are leaders responding to such adversity?

As the President & CEO of Paul Davis Restoration, Rich Wilson believes education is the first response to the challenges of COVID-19. Education and continuous learning has always been an important factor, especially in the construction or restoration industries, but with the incredible health concerns in every work environment now, it’s become more important than ever. Educate your clients first and foremost, but also your employees, on any new procedures, regulations, and how you are going to keep them safe during this pandemic. It’s also important to educate the leaders making financial decisions for your business. During a global pandemic like COVID-19, it’s critical that everyone is on the same page in regards to how the company's cash flow is being utilized.

Your team will not only listen to what you say, but also how you carry yourself during this uncertain time. Honesty, connecting, and checking in with employees as much as possible shows you care about your team as a leader. People are stressed out during these times, and as a CEO it’s important to show your employees that you care about their well-being. Being honest with them will not only put the situation in perspective, but also bring the team closer together. Dan Cassara, CEO of CORE Group, says that, “Keeping a pulse on how [COVID-19] is affecting the overall team is really important”. Take the time to check in with your team to see how this pandemic is affecting them, and be honest about how the company could be impacted by it.

While connecting with your team, you’ll likely encounter a lot of nervousness - and that’s okay. Managing fears, in response to this pandemic is vital to your team’s success. There is a lot of fear going around related to the virus, so how can you lead your team through that? As a leader, Mark Springer advisest saying, “Okay, I’m scared, but here’s how we’re going to take decisive action”. Figuring out a plan, and executing it as soon as possible can show your team that you recognize (but are not paralyzed by) fear, and help them take a step toward succeeding during a global crisis, both as individuals and as a business.

How Can CEOs Keep Themselves Healthy During These Stressful Times

When dealing with the craziness of running a business, somebody’s physical or mental health can be one of the first things to waver. This is even more important when times are stressful, and leading a company during this pandemic definitely constitutes as stressful.

Here’s how our panel of CEOs are staying healthy physically and mentally during the pandemic:
  • Meditating
  • Bike riding
  • Spending quality family time
  • Working on building relationships, new and old, inside and outside of work
  • Separating your work load into top priorities
Dan says that, “This is a time not just professionally, but personally, where you kind of have a pause. It really is a moment for us to be able to re-calibrate”. Taking the time to do the things you’ve wanted to do while you have the time can make you a stronger leader professionally.

The Most Significant Business Opportunities COVID-19 Has Introduced

COVID-19 has only been around a short while, but we’re already seeing the changes it’s making to businesses across the country, and the new opportunities it’s creating. Dan Cassara says COVID-19 is changing the way we do business, “I think that forcing the entire world to be at home has created personal and professional paradigms for all of us, and quite frankly, this might be the start of new ways of doing business”.

There’s no doubt that as businesses and the ways of doing business slowly morph, new opportunities will present themselves. What are some of these new opportunities, and as leaders, how can we adapt to this?

COVID-19 has presented a tremendous opportunity to grow business relationships, so that when this pandemic does pass, they’re stronger when we come out the other side. Strong relationships can undoubtedly benefit businesses of all sizes in the restoration industry. As Mark Springer of the Restoration Industry Association says, “One of the greatest opportunities our business development team has right now is to forge and build new relationships that otherwise they may never have had before. I brought this up to the team and they said, that is so true, I talked to this CSR at this insurance agency who normally would give me 2 minutes, we talked for 30 minutes. For the first time ever.”

This pandemic has created a huge opportunity to implement technology further into restoration businesses. There is a growing need for 3D imaging, especially in the construction and restoration industry now that physically going into homes is becoming less viable due to COVID restrictions.
It’s important to pay attention to feedback when implementing new procedures, such as the use of technology, into a business model. Taking the time to engage with customers and listen to feedback on the many changes and seeing what’s working, and what isn’t, is critical for you and your team to come out of this stronger as a business. As Dan Cassara says, “We are being very cognizant of the things that we’re doing now, and trying to figure out what works, what doesn't work, and bringing those things to our clients and saying hey, this could potentially be your reality going forward”.

Being a leader is never easy, and takes tremendous amounts of hard work, energy, passion, and courage. Thanks to these inspiring individuals, Mark Springer, Dan Cassara, and Rich Wilson, we all gained amazing insight into what it takes to be a leader during a global pandemic. To continue learning from these amazing panelists, you can watch the full webinar here.

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