Help First is one of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) Core Values for the organization and Implementers like me. It is so important as we help friends, families, teams and clients get back up on their feet to fight during this crisis.

I want to thank the EOS coaches and community of Implementers and other business experts in helping first in this time of crisis and helping me assemble the following post with their compelling insights and ideas.

Here is how I am helping first, and how I recommend all businesses use these insights and ideas to help first with their clients, customers and family and friends:

  • Call top and eventually all customers – DO NOT email initially; it is too impersonal. Email makes it hard to connect, engage and show sincere empathy. Tone is so important and easier to read on a call, traditional or Zoom. You can detect if people are scared, confident, confused and unclear about the future. You also can probably start cobbling together the essential strategies to help them cope, survive and then eventually thrive. A call is the best way to clearly identify how you can help. In the first or follow up calls, you can use EOS IDS or the Issues Solving Track™. Be empathetic, maybe ask what two to three challenges they face now, and is there possibly one that is most serious that you can help with then or on next call, thanks fellow Implementer Barry Barrett. Patience and empathy; not pushiness is so valuable now. Get your entire team to join in on this; customers and clients will appreciate this attention, care and service.
  • Share insights, ideas and interpretations on the economy and their market situation using industry association insights, news stories, reports from leading and credible experts like this from Bain Consulting and McKinsey You also might share, with confidentially and general insights and ideas, other clients’ approaches. These all will give thoughtful and independent perspective as well as smart, practical and actionable recommendations.
  • Understand that these companies and leaders are progressing through the following stages, thanks to business psychologist Dino Signore and experienced EOS Implementers:
  • Downturn is like a punch in the nose. They are stunned and may not be able to get up immediately to grasp the severity of their current and future challenges. Hopefully, they don’t stay down but stand up.
  • Denial and hoping it’s like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. It’s hoping this will go away. Crisis didn’t miraculously evaporate in Great Recession or Great Depression. A client will benefit from perspective like the Stockdale Paradox – essentially it’s about maintaining optimism and facing brutal reality. Admiral James Stockdale was a tortured and rescued Vietnam War POW. You might forget your loses and refocus on what you can offer as suggested in Scary Times Success Manual™ by Dan Sullivan.
  • Up and all is messy – once clients recover from the nose punch, they tend to think everything is messy. This is classic all-or-nothing thinking where you see everything black and white. You will benefit from living in the gray during this crisis but with direction that a EOS Scorecard™ and Rocks™ can give you.
  • Reorganized — stimulus loans and other financial planning as well new vision and new marketing and people strategies are critical steps. Think what can’t control (pandemic and stimulus support) and what control (structure, goals). Think what resources and assets do you have now and what is essential to do — from EOS Leader Mike Paton. Use this EOS Company’s Guide To Surviving The Coronavirus. Thanks to EOS Implementer Ken DeWitt.  And consider watching the inspiring Panilov’s 28 about how a small brigade of 28 fiercely dedicated Russian soldiers thwart and halt the Nazis’ march to Moscow.
  • Ready to advance and innovate – love this from Dino – close your eyes and sleep for five years. When you wake up, what would you want to see in your business and your life.

Use a Wellness Guide to help the advance – use what I call a wellness guide (questions below) in Help First conversations and adapt based on the client’s mood and where might be in stages described above. Let the client or customer direct your dialogue. The mission is to get them calm, clear and confident. Also use this time to help them identify, discuss and solve their issues. That is where is where leadership abilities are so powerful. My guide is essentially at Level 10 Meeting Agenda™ adapted to Helping First in this crisis:

  • Check in — dash share personal and professional good news.
  • What issues facing — what must do now, what do’s to put on hold and what does must stop? That assessment is from EOS Implementer Paul Detlef.
  • What can’t we control and what can we control (ask not first, helps with creating new mindset).
  • What works and is still good? This is a line from the flight director during the Apollo 13 crisis.
  • What is the 30-day plan — what will we do, who does it and when is it done?
  • You slept for five years what would you love to see when you wake up? (see above).
  • Unresolved issues to solve in next meeting?
  • Recap what’s next for us and be sure to schedule the next meeting.
  • Be there and ask how like you to help and how often like to hear from you — your aim here is to focus on helping first and take cues from them without pushing. Clients will appreciate this behavior and attitude. Like the poet Maya Angelou aptly puts – “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

Good luck to all business leaders and companies and think — How are you helping first and getting your clients’ business roaring?

Love your insights and ideas.