Using The Eisenhower Matrix to Make Your Workplace Culture Crisis-Proof

Updated: May 10


In a prior post, we discussed the need to change culture when everything else has changed. While there are plenty of ways to shift a company's culture –– including pivoting your purpose –– one tool that's tried and true is the Eisenhower Matrix. Here's how to use it to crisis-proof workplace culture.


Workplace managers are ultimately in charge of COVID-era adjustments, but human resources roles are increasingly focused on enhanced skillsets and decision-making processes as well. Together, workplace and HR managers can collaborate to implement changes, communicate those changes to the workforce, and ultimately perform supervision to ensure the changes are being accepted across the board.


If you haven't heard of the Eisenhower Matrix, chances are you've still seen it (without knowing its name). It's a four-square matrix that determines what you should do with your daily work tasks. It can be broken down as follows:

  • If it's urgent and important, do it now.

  • If it's urgent but not important, delegate it to someone else.

  • If it's not urgent but it is important, schedule a time to do it later.

  • If it's neither urgent nor important, forget about it. Erase it from your mind and your schedule.


Photo credit: WeGoBusiness.com


For the most part, technology and professional services companies have dealt well with the pandemic. And while we hope that situations like this don’t arise again, we still have to be prepared. That's where crisis-proofing comes in.


Preparing your culture before a crisis actually sets in is one of the most important things you can do for your company, your employees, and your own sanity. Think of it as filling up a bug-out bag: You're not going to run to the store once a natural disaster starts. You'll go beforehand so that you're prepared if and when a disaster strikes. So, what does your company's culture bug-out bag look like?


Make a list


Just about every good plan starts with a list. Get your team together, from stakeholders to employees, and brainstorm to compile a list of tasks the company handles on a regular basis. Then make another list of tasks that ought to be done but aren't addressed on a regular schedule of any kind. You should end up with a big, disorganized, and slightly overwhelming list of things to do.


Next, break down both lists. What needs to be done now? Put these into the urgent and important quadrant. What should be done later? Those go into the "not urgent, but important" quadrant. What needs to be done now, but could possibly be outsourced -- the items that are urgent, but not important? And what can you scratch off that list completely? These are not urgent or important.


While the urgent-and-important tasks are exactly as they sound (they need to be done, and they'd better get done now), they're not your only priority. In the second group, the important-but-not-urgent tasks still need some attention. So, instead of putting these on the back-burner, make a habit of setting deadlines and timeframes for them. They still have to be done, after all.


So, what does this have to do with workplace culture?


We often push company culture-building activities into the unimportant quadrants. Unfortunately, this can come back to haunt any company when a sudden emergency -- like, say, a global pandemic -- strikes. So be sure to include a few company-culture-building activities on your lists. These activities can range from monthly or weekly get-togethers (in-person or virtual), to knowledge sharing sessions, to group brainstorming sessions about maintaining work-life balance.


Employees also appreciate opportunities for upskilling and reskilling -- especially when the effort is aimed at reducing racial and gender pay gaps. Don't wait until disaster strikes and you find your employees stressed, underperforming, and unsatisfied with their company culture.


Written exclusively for Greatmondays.com

by Arielle Crossfield


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