The ART of leading through challenging times: Adapt, Resilience, Trust
The situation that we currently find ourselves in is sending shock waves around the world with people and organisations uncertain as to the direction of travel they face. Fear, panic and misinformation are therefore some of the greatest challenges we face today.
Challenging times can be compared to scaling a mountain as the climb can be hard, difficult and sometimes you want to give up but through endurance and determination you can break through the clouds and see things more clearly.
The need for continuity in spite of disruption falls on the shoulders of an organisation’s leaders. At its core effective leadership is about guiding people into the future managing the risks and uncertainties along the way.
The part we can control about any situation is how we respond which requires making intentional choices which ultimately result in a direction of travel and series of outcomes. It’s at this point that an organisations corporate purpose and values are truly put to the test.
To manage this process requires a focus that can help foster effective performance by you and your teams during the most challenging times:
Challenges evolve over time with organisations and their leaders needing to execute a series of choices and changes in direction as the facts and operational impact shift. Often, they require parts of the organisation that do not normally work together to come together to provide the solution.
To adapt successfully requires constantly reframing your understanding making sure your response is balanced and true to you as a company. Conviction and commitment to your core values and principles create an anchor of certainty that facilitates more adaptable action relating to strategy and tactics. If your organisation states that people come first, ensure that all of your decisions reflect this. Support people throughout the company empowering them to make decisions using these principles.
In challenging times people tend to gravitate towards the negative and fear-based scenarios. To be effective, leaders need to be aware of hype cycles and don’t assume that all information creates preparedness instead choosing to operate from a realistic assessment of what is most likely to happen using experts and forecasts carefully. This refocuses the situation to one that is inherently less scary and more focused on the actions needed to get through it.
Continually reflect on what you’ve learned thinking about how you may emerge from this incident stronger, more engaged, and more capable than you were before. Creating this environment calls on leaders to reassure and encourage everyone throughout the organisation that “we can do this” and then supporting them both at work and home.
Trust is at the heart of empowering and collaborative leadership. Challenges present tests of trust but also the opportunity to build on existing sentiment through communication and actions which demonstrate your compassion and commitment to employees and customers. Your efforts will create enduring bonds with your employees, customer and suppliers that lay the foundation for a strong recovery. There have been some great examples of businesses supporting the wider community for the greater good:
Businesses from various sectors making hand sanitiser to help frontline services such as
LVMH producing hand sanitiser at three of its perfume and cosmetics factories for distribution to French hospitals and Deeside Distillery using their gin to create batches of hand sanitiser to help local charities, such as food banks, and front line services including care firms and GPs.
Decisions and actions taken in trying times resonate far beyond the present helping define your organisation for years to come. The lessons we can learn and the practices that can be put in place now make organisations better prepared for the future.
Above all, we need to remember we will get through this together. We're committed to providing as much support and information as possible to our clients and contacts.
Prepare for a changed world with Hope not Fear.