For those not familiar with the term, a foxhole is a simple earthwork military defensive fighting position. Soldiers simply use a small shovel to dig down into the dirt to create protection for themselves and others during a battle.
I’m sure you’ve probably seen a movie, tv show, or read a book that featured a group of grizzled soldiers hunkered down in a foxhole nervously waiting for the enemy to encroach their position.
People that have gone through battle together or even intense situations often band together and remain close long after the event ends. That’s why friends that you developed when you played sports in high school, your college roommate, or that person you ate lunch with at work four jobs ago…still remain your friends.
You have that shared experience.
Who Is In Your Foxhole Right Now?
Currently, we are migrating through the most singularly defining moment in our business and personal careers. You know this to be true.
So let me ask you a very important question.
Who are you sharing that foxhole with right now? Or, looking at it from another perspective, are you jumping into your customer’s foxhole to help them right now?
Who we spend time with now matters.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an event. I realize that this seems like it is dragging out forever, but one day it will end. (Hopefully sooner rather than later)
And as we emerge from the dirt and brush ourselves off, the people, companies, and support that we’ve enjoyed since the zombie apocalypse started will be the ones that are remembered.
The foxhole sharing bond was created.
What Are You Doing?
For your customers, are you jumping into their foxhole and helping? You should be.
Below are some ideas for you to get you thinking about how you can help.
They say, “Your best friend is only a handshake away.” But while we are social distancing, we might paraphrase that to “Your best friend is only a Zoom call away.”
Who are you collaborating with right now?
Get out of your COVID castle and start brainstorming with people on developing and innovating ideas. This is exactly what I mean by jumping into someone’s foxhole.
Can we collaborate together? What interesting spin can we put on things that benefit both of us?
By the way, if you are reading this that last sentence is meant for you and me to possibly work together too.
Remote Work Seems Like a Foxhole
A spare bedroom. The couch. A folding table in the living room. The kitchen table.
People everywhere have dug their own new types of foxholes for the new way to work.
How is that going for you?
Maybe you are still working in your office or shop, but it is your customer is now working from their home-based foxhole. They’ve dug in. But it just doesn’t seem right yet.
Whether it is you or your customer trying to navigate getting work handled from a non-traditional place, it is still weird. Who are we bringing along on this journey?
How is communication happening in the foxhole? It is easy to feel isolated.
Are you doing the work to make it more comfortable and frictionless?
This is a crazy time we are living in right now. The amount of anxiety and uncertainty about the future is through the roof.
People miss the social aspect of things. We can’t get together to casually talk about the game last night, who just had a baby or other normal conversations. That’s why we feel so isolated living in our foxhole.
This is why you need to do the work to help people bring those norms back.
- Schedule a 15-minute “coffee break” with someone and have a video Zoom hang out. First rule: No business allowed.
- Set up alignment. Can everyone read the same book, watch the same movie, or attend a virtual conference together? When we all share the same experiences, we can bond together even when we are not in the same room.
- Be consistent with messaging. We are in the land of distraction now, so be sure to follow up on any important items in writing. If you are having a Zoom meeting, set an agenda beforehand so people can get the brains wrapped around the purpose of the meeting before jumping in.
“Teamworks makes the dreamwork.”
You’ve heard that old saying, right?
If we accept the premise that we are all in the same foxhole, poised and ready to fight the good fight as comrades, then we can band together as a team much easier.
People crave acceptance, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging. That’s why we naturally try to find our own teams in our lives.
It is up to you to show your staff, your customers, your supply chain, and every stake holder in whatever you are working on, that we are all in the same foxhole.
And before you go there is one thing you should know.
I’m ready to jump into your foxhole right now. I got your back.
In fact, I’m already there.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan
“Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro
“When you are on a raft, you pray like in a foxhole.” – Louis Zamperini