Every week we ask our clients in The Regeneration Programme to complete an online progress report - The Extreme Weekly Tracker - and this gives me the chance to "check in" on what they are doing and thinking and offer answers, support and encouragement.
We changed our questions during lockdown:
Looking back over the week, what do I class as my biggest “wins”? What am I pleased/confident about?
Looking back over the week, what are the biggest challenges I’m facing?
Do I feel that I am communicating well with all the people I’m connected to both professionally and personally?
What are the changes I can make in the next week both professionally and personally to improve my lockdown experience?
In what way (if any) could Coach Barrow help me right now? Any other notes/comments?
It's no big surprise that the response rate has grown considerably during lockdown, partially because people have more time to respond and also because the current levels of uncertainty generate more questions.
We issue the tracker every Friday morning and I normally invest quite a bit of time at the start of each week in reading and replying. In fact, this week the completion rate was so high that it took me until 11:00 on Wednesday morning to get to the magical and momentary "inbox zero".
As I read through some very heartfelt and authentic trackers, I try each week to spot the trends in the way that owners, managers, self-employed clinicians and team members are thinking. Predictably, completion rates differ across these categories.
To illustrate what I have learned this week, I've extracted a few key paragraphs from some of the replies I sent, taking care to protect the confidentiality of my correspondents.
Here's a summary of what I have observed so far this week:
"Interesting that so many are now slowly moving from “WTF”, through “uncertainty” into “this is what I’m doing”. The full picture during lockdown is now about 80% there - the picture after lockdown is 10% there - but we all have to show up, one day at a time.
There is no doubt that effective team and patients comms is differentiating the losers and the winners in the lockdown period.
There’s only so much you can do to encourage team members to participate in “training” during furlough - the champions “just do it” and others identify themselves as winners and losers in the post-lockdown environment. It's fascinating how these events will determine the makeup of your future team.
On establishing new routines, like most things in life it takes 80% energy to make a start and 20% to keep it going.
It's very important that you maintain balance during lockdown - you are going to need super energy when we return to work - don’t burn yourself out now.
I have nothing but admiration for those who are parenting right now.
This is the best chance you will ever have to start again, knowing what you know now. A once in a lifetime opportunity to build the life and business that you have always wanted.
I’m looking at every aspect of my business - things I love about it - things I don’t - and I intend to make HUGE changes - because if I don’t do it now, I never will."
I have always seen the weekly tracker as my guide to the mood of my clients and it has never operated more effectively in that respect than now.
A suggestion for any leader/owner is that you would conduct a similar exercise each week with your team.
It's more important than ever to take the pulse of your business partners, your managers, your clinicians and your team - then, when you have completed that task - start again with family and friends.
Exhausting? Yes - I'll admit that I'm spending 11 hours a day in The Bunker and every evening I fall asleep on the sofa in front of the TV (even during a detox!).
Essential? Never more so.