For leaders of businesses and organizations being negatively impacted
These are thankfully unfamiliar days, yet they are real. The total impact to the economic landscape is not known, yet it is certain it will be different on the other side of this immediate crisis. History of other crises indicates we will experience some lasting changes to industries and operations coming out of this. So what are things to consider as a leader during this time:
Here are some quick thoughts:
Embrace the uncertainty and the rapidity in which things are changing. You don’t fight against a riptide by swimming into it, these types of massive disruptions are the same. We can’t panic and act like we can just muscle through this operating the exact same way we were prior. We must be calm and first navigate the immediate threats and help our people, customers, and selves get to calmer waters. From there we can start looking at the pivots we will need to make to our operations and value chains.
Embrace the ‘Stockdale Paradox’. You must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.
Don’t panic and don’t give in, realize there is an opportunity to your path forward, it most likely will look different then your current operational and business model but opportunities always exist. (Now is a great time to examine or create your businesses ‘Flywheel’ and see what might need to change or not.)
Don’t ignore it . You will most likely have to make tough decisions. Don’t ignore contingency planning for potential negative outcomes and taking action earlier than later. If your indicators are telling you absent an action at the current trends you will have significant cash or operational problems in the future, act now. Businesses that make the difficult decisions necessary to survive often find great opportunities down the road in the new market realities.
Focus on People: Get close to your staff and your customer(s); your organization will need to innovate and innovation is not most effectively executed top down,
Focus on adaptability: the needs and opportunities in markets will go through cycles during the initial crisis, immediately after the initial crisis, and during the period of establishing the new normal. Businesses that successfully navigate downturns and disruptions are the ones who are well positioned to adapt to the changes.
Decisive decision making. Lead with small bets and be cautious with big bets. Preserving cash and getting to quick learning’s are keys to innovating to find the new market needs, opportunities and solutions. Utilize existing, or establish, quick feedback loops from the market to staff to inform your decision making.
Leading and innovating are not solo activities, particularly in tough times. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns or thoughts.