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Tips on How to Lead Your Team & Customers Through a Crisis

Process. Routine. Sense of purpose.

Those are the lessons Matt Garrett, CEO and Founder of TGG Accounting, derived from “Endurance,” a story of survival about Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Garrett said he recalled the book and the brutal conditions Shackleton’s team experienced when he began thinking about how to lead his team through the COVID-19 crisis. 

He then adopted a similar strategy for surviving and thriving during the pandemic. 

Here are the three ways small and midsize businesses can build up their team and entice their customers in a crisis.

How Can I Get My Employees & Clients Through a Crisis?

Whether they’re workers or customers, people make up your business. You should focus on three areas that are dependent on these folks to get through difficult times:


  • Building accountability
  • Upgrading culture
  • Beefing up sales

Build Accountability Across the Company

You have to focus on an offensive strategy to build accountability within your business. You want great performers working for you now—and in the future. You can achieve this goal by pledging to treat people fairly while demanding respect and fair treatment in return.

It all starts with tightening your objective accountability metrics. You should manage people based on outcomes instead of subjective measures. You need to make sure every person knows their job’s objectives, then hold them accountable for reaching those goals.

While you’re working on internal improvements, get aggressive about luring exceptional workers away from your competitors. To build a strong and sustainable business, you must have the right people in place. You can achieve this by nurturing the staff you have while also keeping an eye out for top talent outside of your organization.

Upgrade Your Culture

Remote working doesn’t have to put a damper on your company culture. It can make it better. The trick is to create structures that increase communication and accountability as well as take care of your top performers.

At TGG Accounting, Garrett harkened back to the lessons he learned from “Endurance” about having a process, routine, and purpose when his staff started working remotely. He led an all-employee meeting every day at 7:30 a.m. via Zoom. Company leaders also took turns spearheading virtual events such as a midday push-up challenge or happy hour at the end of a workday.

Increasing communication and accountability allowed Garrett and his leadership team to establish new connection points and encourage employees to stay positive no matter what. He insisted on not letting anyone be negative or complain because he believes positivity leads to opportunities for promotion based on performance.

Beef Up Sales

You may be able to take on several of these tasks at once to strengthen your sales team:


  • Track everything. Measure and monitor sales activity and results. This is how you learn what’s working and what’s not so you can adjust tactics when necessary and continue to grow.


  • Build up your team. Reward your winners, and remove those who are not performing well. Take good employees away from your competitors by offering more job security and better advancement opportunities.


  • Beat competitors on price. You may be in the position to undercut the competition if you have a strong balance sheet. Focus on stealing market share in the short term with the intent of increasing your price in the long term.


  • Focus on customer lifetime value. It’s not enough to think about the value of the customer just for today. You must stretch out the timeline and think about their value over the long term.


  • Offer clients flexible payment terms. Consider implementing a sliding pay scale where you give clients a discount for paying earlier, but charge a premium for paying later. For example, a customer would receive a 10% discount for early pay and no discount for paying in 30 days. On the other hand, the customer would have to fork over a 10% premium for paying in 60 days and a 20% premium for paying in 90 days.


  • Offer a different pricing model. Take a tip from HP: give away the printer for free, but charge a high price for the ink. In other words, offer something for free in exchange for longer-term contracts with slightly higher prices.

How to Lead Your Team & Customers Through a Crisis 

Now you know how to motivate your team and delight your customers during a crisis.

Building accountability, upgrading your culture, and beefing up sales puts a focus on the people who make your business successful: your employees and your clients.

Understanding the roles these folks play in your company’s future will prompt you to be more proactive and seek ways to improve the existing climate.

Tags: Leadership
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