“Spending freeze”

“Cut your budgets”

“Look at your spend”

“Free up some cash”

We all seem to be hearing a lot of these kinds of statements right now.

And they’re mostly understandable. We’re in a strange, new situation for which there’s literally no precedent, and this naturally causes us to be more cautious.

As we encounter various flavors of “budget cutting,” we’ve been encouraging great leaders — like you — to look further and see deeper.

There’s a powerful role for you to play in this story.

Frankly, we (collectively, all of us) need you to poke at old assumptions and ask generative new questions.

We need you to push back in moments of reaction, and instead help us zoom out and respond thoroughly and thoughtfully.

To that end, here are six items we encourage you to continue thinking about, and possibly share with your leaders, as you all look at budgets together.

  • 1) HOLD BOTH “NOW” & “NEXT” — Short term saving can be important… AND this situation won’t last forever. Great leaders like you are able to hold the paradoxical tension of “now” and “next” at the same time, one in each hand.
  • 2) ACTIVELY COUNTERACT BURNOUT — You’re likely wanting to make sure your best people to stay, which is smart. Also remember that many employees were on the edge of burnout before COVID, and those who are still working now feel an extra level of pressure to perform because their livelihood (and their health insurance) is now on the line. This means their tendency will be to push themselves even closer to the edge. Knowing this is happening, great leaders will actively work to counteract this “compounding burnout” effect by leaning further into self-care practices and helping people build healthier habits instead. (NOTE: This “move” will feel strange and counterintuitive at first!)
  • 3) GROWTH REQUIRES GENEROSITY — As a general principle of life, austerity doesn’t seem to grow things (be it flowers, fondness, or people). Investment and generosity always seems to be required to grow.
  • 4) PEOPLE WON’T FORGET HOW YOU MAKE THEM FEEL — Employees won’t forget what company leaders choose to prioritize during this time. When they feel like they were well taken care of, those positive feelings will linger a long time and they will tell their friends about how amazing their company is! (Of course the opposite is also true… and people tend to talk more, and for longer, if the experience is negative.)
  • 5) BE VIGILANT ABOUT FEAR — Be extra careful to ensure any actions taken now aren’t done from a place of fear. People will feel it.
  • 6) COME BACK EVEN STRONGERYou absolutely CAN use this time to build your leaders and teams and come through this even stronger. Crisis has a way of bringing people together… IF there’s thoughtful leadership, which you clearly have!

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