I have been thinking a lot about the state of the world these days. I’ve had some intense and meaningful discussions with friends, family and clients about the topics on all of our minds:
A global pandemic that has yet to be brought under control. The extraordinary effects on our physical health and emotional well-being, our finances, and the fundamental ways in which we interact with one another.
As if this pandemic weren’t enough to deal with, we now have widespread protesting, much of which is peaceful but some of which is not. We are seeing the impact of both well-intended participants and bad. And we are experiencing the effects of leadership, and the paucity of it, in profound ways.
This is a time of deep societal upset. Yet one must hope we are at the precipice of broad and lasting change.
If you are at the helm of a team, department or company, your leadership has never been more important. Your ability to project confidence, provide clear direction, and extend heartfelt understanding is essential. Your behaviors today will remain in the hearts and minds of your constituents for years to come. This is your moment to make a lasting difference.
Here are three ways to successfully lead when the world seems to be aflame:
1. Focus on today. What is genuinely essential? If it’s not important or pressing, push it back or let it go. Priorities shift in times of crisis. Think about what you’re focusing on right now and engage in dialogue with your employees, customers, and other key stakeholders. Reach agreement about the right places to be allocating time and resources.
2. Be flexible. With nearly everyone working from home and dealing with competing family commitments, personal distractions, worries about the country and the world, and perhaps a desire to personally engage in civic demonstrations, it won’t be easy to show up for every video call and go about business as usual. Discuss your expectations and be flexible regarding how things get done.
3. Begin to shift gears. Many business leaders have been “heads down” for the past few months dealing with the rapid onset and immediate impacts of COVID-19. They’ve focused on keeping their employees safe and productive, while increasing digital capabilities, adapting to changing customer needs, and addressing meaningful concerns about stock prices, revenues and the economic outlook. And that’s precisely what’s been needed. But now, even as we face ongoing economic and social uncertainty along with a global health crisis that’s far from over, leaders must start shifting to the next phase. Here is what my best clients are doing:
Revising strategy. What made sense three months ago probably isn’t a perfect fit for the world we’re living in today.
Strategically pausing from the day-to-day. Taking time to consider what’s going well and noting what needs improvement or full-on transformation.
Thoughtfully considering needs. What will employees, customers, and other key constituents require in the coming months… and beyond?
Getting the right people in place. Hiring well, making personnel changes where appropriate, assigning the right roles, and building team effectiveness.
Building up leadership. Coaching, mentoring, and training at every level of the organization.
Are you doing everything you can to help your organization succeed today and thrive tomorrow?
Four Ways I Can Help You Right Away
If you’d like my help in navigating today’s challenges and setting course for tomorrow, send me an email or give me a call. Together, we can explore ways to improve and dramatically accelerate your results.
Some of my latest offerings include:
1.Strategic Advisor to the CEO and Executive Team. If you’d like an objective thought partner with whom you can discuss matters of leadership, strategy, team dynamics, and leading through change, you’ll want to consider this approach. You’ll have me on speed dial to discuss opportunities and challenges in real time—to make your best decisions today and thoughtfully strategize for tomorrow.
2.Slow Down to Speed Up® Toolkit. It’s never been more important to equip your team with the right tools for performance. I will work directly with your team, using my proprietary approach, and provide them with a pragmatic framework to enhance decision-making, collaboration, delegation, communication, and prioritization. With the Slow Down to Speed Up® toolkit at their disposal, your group will perform better, lead with confidence, and drive better business outcomes.
3.Sentient Strategy®. I will work closely with you and your team to develop the kind of strategy that meets today’s challenges head-on, while creating meaningful progress toward realizing your vision. Over the course of a full-day session (with a bit of targeted pre- and post-work), or two half-day remote sessions, we will pinpoint your top three growth drivers and put them to the test. Accountability for implementation is a key part of the process.
4.Slow Down to Speed Up® Briefings for New Leaders. I have to give credit to one of my favorite clients for this great idea. After I provided two keynote addresses for the Northrop Grumman Management Club, they told me they’d decided to host a five-week book club featuring Slow Down to Speed Up: Lead, Succeed, and Thrive in a 24/7 World. It was a creative, engaging, high impact way to provide their people with my SDTSU tools for success. I can help you do the same for your organization.
As we move into the coming weeks, I will continue to provide you advice to help you lead your organization through these difficult times. Please email me with additional topics you’d like me to address. Call anytime you need me. I’d be glad to hear from you.
To your continued health, wellness, and steadfast leadership.