The initial wave of catastrophe work is done. It sure feels great to get home and back into your “regular” routine, not to mention your own bed! It is great to get back and not have to worry about everything. Just to have a little bit of assistance in running the normal day to day operations. As you have started to notice after your arrival back home, everyone seems to want some one-on-one time with the you, the boss. They want to catch the boss up with their world and ask a couple of questions about how the CAT went. You can actually feel the company experiencing a little relief that routine is returning.

Discussion #1: The Debrief

When you feel it’s time, you need to address what the company plan is for re-engaging all of the company’s resources and focusing on moving forward together. Let your people explain how their world has been and how they’ve handled the company efforts at home plate. Let the CAT members do the same. This will allow everyone to hear and see what the entire company needs to do to move forward together.

Discussion #2: Addressing Needs

Your second discussion needs to bring the entire team up to date on the current status of all of the storm work receivables. Make sure all data needed by anyone in the company gets to them ASAP, and is also put into your company’s job management software. By doing this, when any of your people are talking with anyone who owes the company money, they are able to work on collections and see the documentation.

Discussion #3: A Local Look

The third discussion you need to have is to follow up on the current status of the company’s business development efforts locally. The key is to look critically at whether or not any sources of your past business efforts have been neglected, while we were away at the CAT. Needless to say, if they have been neglected, you need to make personal contact and start down the repair path. Don’t forget to tie the connections at the storm work to any of your local contacts that helped you get the storm work.

Discussion #4: Evaluate

Now, you need to compare pre-storm goals with the post-storm goals that were completed, and what to do about the differences. Remember, you found at the CAT that you had to be ready and able to adjust to a constantly changing work environment. The storm work promises seem to be well intended, but they didn’t always work out when you got there. It went from being headed home without the promised work to a phone call just before leaving and a different work source becoming available. You had some people who went to the CAT with you, but some of them were not cut out to do storm work. Some of the promises made by the people staying home to step up didn’t do quite as well as expected.

As a leader of your company, your people worked hard, they gave it their best, they endured the hardship of being away from the families and friends, they wanted to please, but they may have fallen short. So what do you do? Here are some suggestions that you might find helpful:

  1. Consider thanking them both privately and publicly. This is typically a hard behavior for a manager to practice on a regular basis, but it can be a learned behavior with practice.
  2. Have a company function to thank their families. This needs to be a time for the family to be appreciated (including yours) and thanked for being part of the team that helped keep things together during the CAT.
  3. Review what you promised in bonuses and the reality of what was earned in bonuses. I guarantee that it was being talked about in your absence and it is a very important item on their family agenda. I suggest that you pay the bonuses earned plus you, as the Benevolent Dictator, pay an additional bonus or not, based on what you feel and think needs to be paid based on all of the facts as you see them.
  4. Under what conditions would you be willing to commit the company to participating in a future CAT. You will certainly have additional things to consider based on all that you and the company have just experienced. One of the items you might consider doing is to generate a checklist that your company team agrees to. This will allow all to know what it will take to get involved and it will also let the entire company know what it will have to do to get prepared and stay prepared!

Hope you’re having a profitable year so far, and that you’re now looking at the upcoming CAT season with a different thought process than when this series of three stories began.