Emerge from the Pandemic Stronger: Goals, Action Plans, and Deadlines

By Neal Eisenstein, MBA, MCC. I don’t know about you, but between the pandemic, painful reminders of systemic racism, and an upside-down political climate, my head is spinning and part of me wants to shut down.  

So, let’s have a conversation about what to do when we’ve reached our limit and feel stuck, uninspired, or rudderless. We are always self-managing our emotions and moods as business people. So, the question I ask is: 

“What can each of us do to come out of this moment feeling more prepared, empowered, or motivated to get unstuck, freed up, and feeling better.” I’m talking progress, not transformation.   

Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t even want to return to the office just now let alone come out of this stronger. It is such a scary, depressing time.” If you’re thinking this, you are not alone. The problem is, we can all get run down by the pressures of business and the challenges of keeping our heads and hearts protected in this difficult time. We get stuck in our own thoughts and the focus becomes about maintaining the status quo rather than stretching to maintain our agility, our creativity, and a more balanced mood.  

Here’s what’s clear. Want to be better?
Start with a goal, an action plan, and a deadline.

Leadership development is about stretching in action-oriented ways. Thinking is good.  Reframing and avoiding the inclination to catastrophize is important. However, nothing compares to the importance of a go-forward set of actions and outcomes that keep us out of our heads and into a posture of action and curiosity.

To take my own advice, over these past five months I’ve executed three projects to help me feel creative, productive, and manage my head. I’m embarrassed to share that I’ve been avoiding some of these things, forever. Sound familiar?

In this crazy time, I have rebuilt my personal website, cleaned out my garage (harder than the website), and contacted over 95 old clients to connect, catch up, and express support. Tough challenges that I met by setting goals, executing a plan of action, and setting deadlines.

Business is about plans, planning, and goal setting. What’s important here is the clarity of the goal. To leave this pandemic better than when we entered it, the place to start is with a clear goal: time bound deadlines and an action plan. (Read more about setting SMART goals).

To come out of this stronger than when you entered it, three suggestions…

  1. How we think about a problem begins with us. Identify one or two things you know need to happen at work or at home. Things that are in your control but that you’ve been avoiding.  
  2. Stay in this question. What can I do today to change things up? Step, by step, by step.  Deadlines are crucial. No deadline? No plan.
  3. Ask for feedback. Do not approach someone who will offer vague affirming pleasantries or tell you what you want to hear. Find a role model, a mentor or a coach who can actually help you to get unstuck. Someone who can truly help you move ahead with an action-oriented game plan. Someone who will hold you accountable to what you want to improve.  

Isn’t it interesting that most of us stop spending money on our professional education at college or grad school? How about raising your hand in the organization you work in to grow? Want to elevate your game in this challenging time? Feeling challenged around the ability to set goals, actions and deadlines?  

Find a coach who can be your leadership trainer. Someone who can inspire you to take action, up your game and make progress. Focus your energy on coming out of this pandemic better than when you went into it.

To learn more about setting goals, creating action plans, and becoming a more effective leader, schedule a consultation with Neal.