Assessing Your Team and Infrastructure During This Unprecedented Time

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Assessing your team and infrastructure is an item leaders often have on the “to do” list, but likely keeps getting pushed to the bottom.

NOW is the perfect opportunity to tackle the task.

When we look back on the COVID-19 situation, bold leaders will have used the lessons learned during this time to strengthen their organizations and teams. Here are some things you can review to prepare for short- and long-term operational needs when things return to normal. (And they will return to normal.)

  • Annual goals and targets. What will they look like at 100% / 75% / 50%?
  • Budgeted numbers (projected and actual). Determine which fixed costs are a must and which soft costs can be deferred, reduced, or eliminated.
  • Job descriptions. When were they last updated? Do they clearly outline performance objectives and expectations?
  • Policies and procedures. Are they current? Do they accurately reflect how your team operates?
  • Members of your team. Who brings exceptional skill? Who is the most versatile? Who always jumps in, and who regularly objects? Who has evolved with the job, and who has steered the job to fit them?

With this data fresh in mind, outline your ideal team structure for January 2021. Look at the ideal pre-COVID-19, the “leanest” option now, and what falls in between. Defining these frameworks will help in the coming months.

During both the Dotcom bubble burst (late 90s) and the economic downturn during the Great Recession (2007-2009), we learned that crisis-timed decisions need to be made with short-, medium-, and long-term impact in mind.

The good news is – we also learned that things do eventually come back. Who you have on your team when that happens will make all the difference. Here are some recommendations when making hard decisions:

  • Culture still eats strategy – even in tough times, and perhaps especially in tough times. Make sure people are adding to a common, valued, shared, and vibrant culture.
  • Strategy does matter. Without it, your team may accomplish a multitude of tasks, but may not reach bigger goals.
  • Longevity carries weight, but last in/first out may not meet your business needs. Staff with less tenure on your team may fill the most current/important need(s) – isn’t that why you hired them?
  • The 80/20 rule. A manager often spends 80% of their time with the underperformers and only 20% of their time with top performers. Who takes up most of your time, and is that time channeled productively and efficiently? If you could achieve more time balance, what outcomes could you accomplish?
  • Ensure your team brings a blend of styles and strengths. KEES uses the DiSC profile for team building. Even if a team member isn’t your favorite personally, that does not mean they are not a valuable asset to the team.

These challenging times will demand your creative leadership. If you keep your mission and purpose top of mind, knowing that things will rebuild and ultimately thrive again, then short team pain may lead to long term gain.


For over 22 years, Heather Eddy has worked with nonprofits and institutions to build capacity, and specifically, the past 13 years she has worked to strengthen executives, Boards, managers and leaders. As a frequent speaker, she increasingly contributes knowledge in the areas of strategic philanthropy, executive succession, and engagement of boards/governing bodies. She leads the KEES team (which she co-founded in 2013) after serving for 17 years in multiple executive leadership roles with The Alford Group/Alford Group Executive Search, a national consulting firm that partners with nonprofits and provides fundraising and organizational strategy consulting.