Holding Pattern - Brainstorming

Holding Pattern: What to do when you can't do anything

May 19, 2020

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There are many things in life we can’t control—everything from tiny inconveniences to large scale human issues (ahem COVID-19 I’m referring to you.) And while the vast majority of us can’t control what is happening in the world, we can however take control of setting ourselves up for success in the future. 

With states getting the green light to slowly open back up, there are a lot of things to do before returning to “business as usual”.
I read a quote yesterday that said.....
“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.”
This had me thinking all day. The last few months have felt like we were all in a holding pattern, waiting for news to come that never did. When our initial thought of a 14-day lockdown quickly turned to a global pandemic shutdown, it seemed like everyone I spoke to was just waiting for the nightmare to end. 

While many were disgruntled, albeit in hibernation for the last 45days+, those returning to work are expecting change. The reality is that COVID-19 completely changed the way we work. Whether it means telecommuting becoming the standard, bespoke office settings, or even just the fact that this pandemic poked holes into unnecessary business expenses, businesses will emerge from this more organized, lighter (yes even leaner) than before, but that is okay. 

As a marketer these last few months I’ve often kept thinking, “What do you do, when you can’t do anything?” And while admittedly this seemed like a wildly depressing thought at first, I realized that the lockdown allowed our team to refocus to our core values - Saints Heart, Lions Spirit, and a Rockstar mentality. 

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Being a “sales-centric” company no longer made sense, and quite honestly was not very “Compassy”. So with a lot of collaboration, strategy, and refocus we have used this time to better Compass for our team, our clients, and our community. 

I figured in true Compass fashion, it made sense to share our lessons from the past several weeks and help you get out of the holding pattern you may feel like you are in, allowing you to set not only your team up for success but also your company. 


Lesson 1

It has to come from the heart.

The biggest culture pillar at Compass has always been our “Saint’s Heart”. And while we do not consider ourselves saints or martyrs by any means, we do believe in giving our all to support those in need in the communities that we serve. 

Our Compass Cares program had been established for several years now to provide discounted housing to patients and families traveling for life-saving medical treatment. Having this program allowed us to have a rock-solid foundation in play to extend our program to healthcare and essential workers on the frontlines, shelter in place needs, college students who found themselves thrown out of dorms, and international travelers who had been displaced. 

We then took this one step further and extended partnerships with local nonprofits. One of these was the expansion of our relationship with Hospitality Homes. COVID-19 shattered the way Hospitality Homes had historically been able to house patients at extremely low costs. With the option off the table for patients to cohabitate with hosts, we stepped in to provide that much needed affordable, private, safe haven. It has been our honor to keep these patients and their families safe throughout the pandemic. 


What This Means To You:

Lead with empathy. Whether it is communication with your team, your vendors or even your clients, the company that leads with empathy will leave a lasting impression on those around you. Bonus - it makes you feel good! 


Lesson 2

Be Tenacious
We believe in never giving up. We have fought hard to ride the storm and have gotten creative in order to do so. At Compass we call this our "Lion’s Spirit”.
We have, and will always be, here for you. In every sense of the phrase. 
In the literal sense, we are open, we are here, and our team is available whenever and however you need them. 
Our relationships with our community and clients mean the world to us. To help, we have adapted our pricing models to support a wider range of needs and clients, been even more flexible with leases to support all the unknown of travel and the restrictions that unfortunately have come with it, and have been working tirelessly to provide the best and cleanest furnished apartments for our clients during these times and beyond. 
With the future of business already reshaped, we did a lot of inward-looking to see how we can best support our clients in the future. In the last few months we have used this time to build out our customer experiences, refocus energies on our technology enhancements, and create some amazing new booking efficiencies that we cannot wait to share with you.

What This Means To You:

Never give up. There is always a solution to the problem, and there is always a way to improve. If you think that your business has not and will not change now or in the future, you are sadly mistaken.

Do an exercise with your team and run a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on your company in the current state its in. Conversely look for friction points in your current business dealings. Is your duty of care policy in need of a facelift? Does your culture at your company need to be refocused? Or are certain vendors not willing to adapt with your new needs?

There are always ways to improve. 


Lesson 3

Be a ROCKstar.

If one thing comes out of all of this it is seeing who stepped up to the challenge. With many companies downsizing and job functions becoming more fluid and dynamic, employees who remained have had to step up to new challenges. We consider this at Compass our “ROCKstar Mentality” - helping each other and the team for the greater good - our clients and community.


What This Means To You:

While this is something that we recognized years ago as a true need to run at our best, in the past many companies have hired for specific needs. This pivot has allowed a huge opportunity for every company. It allows the opportunity to see who may be better suited in a different role, and who has risen to the challenge. 

Ex. If you have a seasoned road warrior, perhaps this downtime has allowed them to enjoy inside sales versus being away from family. 

Use this time to start looking at your company's success metrics to see who has exceeded your expectations. Perhaps this warrants a larger conversation of speaking with your team to see where people would be most happy post lockdown, what job descriptions need to change, and how that affects your internal org. 


Final Thoughts

While many of this seems like common sense, I feel like all too many times, we all are guilty of getting wrapped up into the daily news cycle, fear, and overall uneasiness that has happened in the last few months. 

Our lives have been paused, yet our emotional and cultural changes have been accelerated. So when I say to you “there are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen,” do you feel like you have used the last few weeks wisely? 


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