Jason just saw five years of hard work go down the tubes.
As a CMO of a public company, he has invested five years of emotional capital and energy into team development and recognition.
Yet his team wasn’t immune to the spoils of The Great Resignation.
He just reported 47% turnover within the marketing team. Other departments weren’t proud of their turnover rates, either.
That’s turmoil in a nutshell.
How can we tame turmoil when world events swirl around us? How do we react when attrition causes excessive strain on our existing talent?
In Episode 57 of The Mindful Marketer life stream, I sat down with seasoned board adviser, Harvard Business Review contributor, and author Constance Dierickx. Known as The Decision Doctor™, Constance guides top leaders from AAA, CDC, Cox Enterprises, and Johnson Controls through tough times.
Here’s our advice on taming turmoil:
- Pause when a peer becomes highly emotional. While conducting a recent organization review, Dierickx met with a client who started weeping. The client was visibly distressed. She chose to give the client space to cry: “When she collected herself, I offered a cognitive solution.”
“Leaning in” is not the ideal next step. Had Dierickx offered a rapid response during the client’s 7-minute crying rant, she would have lost rapport and trust with the client. Instead, lean out, hold space and eye contact.
- Embrace strategic habits in your workday. As a marketing leader:
- Are you able to separate the “what” from the “how” during crisis?
- Are you known as someone who can create order from chaos?
- Can you think on your feet?
- Do you practice reversal? If the other person (or group) is taking you down a certain path, and lamenting a predicted outcome, ask “what if (the opposite situation) happens?” This helps them separate the what from the how.
Constance’s recent book, The Merger Mindset, contains a robust list of strategic habits.
- Rely on evidence, not emotion. When a colleague or customer is dropping land mines, pause and ask “where are you getting that information? What behaviors are you specifically observing?” In today’s hybrid work environment, it’s easy to hide behind a screen and fabricate stories.
- Focus on what you can control. In my second book, I explored the human energy system hypothesis. This studies the connection between the physical body and the energetic (invisible) system. Scientists can point to the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine as one proof point.
At any moment, we must learn to find balance among three energy fields: our personal field (health/wellness/physical body/mindset); our near field (direct surroundings, such as our office and home); and our global field (regional, national, and global dynamics).
Turmoil taming leaders show mastery at controlling their personal and near fields. They also recognize that they can only influence, not control, the global energy field.
Obsessing over events happening thousands of miles away exacerbates our ability focus on our health, our loved ones, and our stakeholders. 24 x 7 social media and news alerts fuel depression, exhaustion, and isolation.
- Turn to modern-day turmoil tamers. During my livestream, Constance and I applauded Ukraine President Zelensky and his calm, crafted speech to the United States Congress on March 16. Last week, I took copious notes from his address. He does an excellent job of weaving fact and story, fact and story:
“In your great history, you have pages that would allow you to understand Ukrainians, understand us now when we need you, right now. Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Just remember it. Remember September the 11th, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, in battlefields, when innocent people were attacked, attacked from air, yet. Just like no one else expected it, you could not stop it.”
Zelensky wasn’t speaking to Congress; he was connecting with every American and our own traumatic history.
Whether you are the head of marketing or the head of a country, you can find tools, techniques, and teachers to help you tame turmoil. Watch our latest show on LinkedIn, or take the show on the go. You can listen on your favorite podcast platform here.