What I Know Now: Leading During a Pandemic

In some ways, it feels like I know even less than before. We are living in a world most could never have anticipated. As tempting as it is to look back on how things were and try to force our previous styles into this brave new world, that just won’t work. It’s time to embrace change, learn from it, and apply it for the future.

Wouldn’t it have been great to see this coming? I think about things I said in February and simply shake my head. We’ve learned so much since then – and much of it unexpected. I am thankful for the lessons we learned and how this crisis has made LandSouth stronger.

Our core values guide us through difficult times. We relied on them to stay focused and remember who we are as LandSouth. There was no “that’s not my job” or “we don’t do it that way”. Everyone stepped up and embraced change to keep the business going and, most importantly, keep everyone safe. I’ve always known we had amazing people. This proved it. Without asking, people developed and adopted new processes to handle this new reality. Many went above and beyond, out shopping and searching for cleaning supplies and sanitizer to protect our LandSouth family.

These actions solidified a lot of what I already knew. But there were a lot of lessons – some unexpected, some needed, and some reassuring.

  1. People want to connect. Being part of the organization and learning about one another became even more important. LandSouth really is a family.
  2. COMMUNICATE!! People are hungry for information. Keep them informed.
  3. Always be prepared. You never know what is going to happen.
  4. HR is invaluable. They know the people and will deliver what is needed to keep things going.
  5. Patience and trust are key. I had to become more patient and rely on my team and their expertise.
  6. Don’t worry about things you can’t control.
  7. Listen – without an agenda and be open to new ideas. That was probably the most important lesson of all.

Usually construction is one of the first industries to take a hit. Not this time. There was real appreciation for the construction industry, and our contributions to the economy. Even so, our industry had to meet this challenge head on and adapt.

It could not be a one size fits all approach. The rules in the field had to be different than in the office. Our commitments remained and we would honor them. Challenges included supply issues, fewer personnel as schools closed and health issues arose. Some changes were necessary, maybe even overdue. And several are here to stay. Job sites will be cleaner and better maintained. Stronger virtual and digital capabilities will become even more important and a regular way of doing business.

We strengthened the connection between the office and the field, emphasizing that we are in this together. We shared information and made sure we missed no one. We didn’t just tell people what to do. We explained the rationale, so people understood why we were making changes. Finally, we reinforced our commitment – to the work and to one another.

Some made bigger sacrifices and took greater risks. Those in the field bore the brunt of the risks. It was important to acknowledge that, leading to extra bonuses to show our appreciation.

Finally, we must prepare. That may be the biggest lesson of all – the importance of being prepared.

What did we do well? What could we do better? Covid19 is just one type of crisis. Other emergencies and issues loom ahead. It’s Florida. There will be hurricanes. Apply what we’ve learned. Practice and prepare. We’re bringing the right people together to ensure we are ready when the next crisis occurs. It’s not overreaction. It’s security and confidence. And that means a stronger LandSouth.

So, we learned a lot, made changes, and kept things moving. But what does this mean for the future? What are we at LandSouth going to do differently?

  1. Slow down and step back. Appreciate the process.
  2. Delegate and trust the expertise. Encourage others to lead and let them do their jobs. Trust that they will get it right. Trust in our people is more important than ever
  3. Communicate constantly and consistently. Tell people (employees, clients, partners) what you know when you know it.
  4. Don’t just learn the lessons. Put them into practice. Adopt new processes and best practices.
  5. Embrace an even greater commitment to LandSouth and our people.

We really are blessed, LandSouth is a family and I am even more committed to doing what it is right for this family. Together we will face challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

For more information visit www.landsouth.com or call 904.273.6004

ABOUT LANDSOUTH CONSTRUCTION…Building Ideas

LandSouth Construction, the Southeast’s premier general contractor, specializing in multifamily, senior living, and mixed–use development, was named one of the nation’s Top 25 apartment builders by the National Multifamily Housing Council. Since 1998 LandSouth has transformed ideas into best–in–class communities through superior construction management and building long–term relationships. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. LandSouth has completed more than 18,000 units including apartments, hotels, senior living, student and military housing, condominiums, townhomes, and mixed–use. For more information, please contact Erica Zumstein at 904.273.6004 ext. 109 | ezumstein@landsouth.com or visit www.landsouth.com