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Post-Pandemic Planning Posted on November 11, 2020

By Psychology speaker Margie Ireland

Every so often in history there are stand-out leaders who lead with words and make decisions that change the trajectory of where things could have gone.

In this week’s articles I am sharing how to support your team to the other side of the Covid-19 crisis. In my previous article I shared the first two steps of Winston Churchill’s highly respected crisis framework – frame the crisis and invoke a sense of destiny.

In this article I give you the next two steps: Lead Backwards and Redefine Hardship.

Lead Backwards
Lead Backwards is to look forward and then plan backwards from there. I have used this strategy for many years with my leaders and in my own businesses. When I was an owner and leader in an executive recruitment practice, we had this backwards planning in place prior to the GFC, and I believe it was the reason we were one of the few agencies to make a profit that year. We had a long term view of where we were heading plus we had built in contingency plans for unexpected events.

Try this…

Direct your attention to the longer term goals you had in place before this crisis. Even though the short term path to these goals may have changed, can you still keep these as a focal point?

When we take our focus off the longer term, and only focus short term, it is a bit like taking the anchor out of the water before setting a direction of where you plan to head. You will just drift about, bouncing from one place to the next.

Leading Backwards means you keep your team focused on the long term goals and then adapt backwards. For example if in 12 months time you had a particular goal, where do you need to be in 9 months to be on track? What are the milestones? Then set these in 3 month blocks. While you may need to adjust the next 3 months, this process helps to clarify what needs to be done and by when.

Redefine hardship
This is close to my heart as this is about mindset. Churchill would say things like this “hardship will make us better, stronger and more resilient.” We tend to believe anything that is hard is bad. This is your mindset.

Try this…

Every time you come across a challenge over the next 24 hours, instead of seeing it as bad, decide to use that challenge as an opportunity to better, stronger and resilient. This can be an opportunity to try your George Costanza approach I shared earlier, titled ‘How to lead a team out of frustration or fear’.

Flip the challenge to be something positive. This will also inspire your team to do the same.


Margie Ireland, works with CEO’s, executives, HR professionals, managers and leaders. Margie is a Psychologist with a strong commercial background of 25 years and specialises in supporting highly capable leaders to thrive in challenging times.