Do you know what the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, and Empire State Building have in common? All were built during the Great Depression, a period of economic hardship yet they continue to be recognized as some of the most innovative accomplishments in our country’s history.
Today, we’re navigating a global pandemic that’s bigger than sports. Where many of our stakeholders are trying to keep their businesses afloat or ensure their family is safe – a time where questions are plenty and answer are few.
Our immediate focus must be to showcase our organization’s commitment to our stakeholders while exploring proactive measures to establish new revenue streams when we understand the full financial landscape. Regardless of the impact, we’ve been presented an opportunity to innovate.
Here are three ways you and your team can approach the COVID-19 pandemic:
Relational Capital Is Built with Drops and Lost in Buckets
Intentionality is paramount in your messaging as your stakeholders will remember how you made them feel during this time for years to come. While you’re developing your communications, begin by removing yourself from your current position and picture yourself as someone who may have had significant losses in the stock market, closed a small business or have a family member directly impacted by the pandemic.
With each scenario, leading with empathy and prioritizing your stakeholders over profits is vital to retaining or improving the perception of your brand. As you proactively reach out to these groups, you’ll uncover new opportunities to build affinity while gaining a better understanding of their current challenges and mindset.
Relational capital is built with drops and lost in buckets so don’t allow this temporary situation to force short term goals while compromising long term relationship. Your focus should be on laying the groundwork for future initiatives once a sense of normalcy returns.
Believe in Your People
When navigating periods filled with high stress and adversity it’s important to lean on those around you, both internally and externally. With large transactions not in play currently, many of your stakeholders want to remain informed on how your department is working through the pandemic. Sports have been an outlet for generations which still rings true today. Share insight on what your department is doing to assist student-athletes at this time or seek ways you can provide value to them outside traditional means.
Within your units or departments, there hasn’t been a better time for you to position your team to innovate and grow. Each person brings a unique perspective which is critical when navigating this highly sensitive landscape. Your department’s next steps begin with you which is why it’s important to view this as an opportunity to develop your team by challenging them with forward-thinking projects.
Embrace Challenges as a Vehicle for Positive Change
High performing teams will view these times as a means for positive change. Chances are your organization had areas you’ve been working to improve for years so perhaps this is an opportunity to revamp or develop a communication strategy to heighten awareness with more access to your ticket or donor base. Perhaps it’s increasing your philanthropic giving or increasing sell through in ticketing. With either area, you’ll be operating under shortened timelines once everything stabilizes thus creating the need to begin developing multiple strategies aimed at overcoming a variety of scenarios.
For many of us the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 were proving grounds for today where our traditional model was turned upside down, forcing us to reimagine and innovate, ultimately relsutling in new strategies which have made our industry better in the end.
This time will be no different.