Preparing yourself for the recovery – Three actions you must take to revive and thrive.
As I reflect on my many discussions over the last several weeks, what is evident is how consumed people have become with our Covid-19 world. This virus is one which has hit with such speed and force, from a health and economic perspective that we cannot be blamed for having moved immediately into crisis management mode. We must applaud ourselves for having done so with conviction. But where to now?
There is no doubt that we will be talking about Covid-19 and its impacts for quite some time to come. But leaders need to ask themselves whether they will be defined by their response to Covid-19 or by their ability to re-imagine opportunity as we come out of a period of hibernation. What we have clearly seen emerge is that people are seeking inspiration. Yes, we wish to stay informed, however more and more we are looking towards those who will re-imagine the way forward. Hope is what inspires humanity, and like we have seen in the realm of health where the globe’s focus shifts toward a vaccine, the corporate landscape is quickly shifting its focus from “how do we survive this crisis” to “how do we re-emerge stronger?”.
Astute Boards are now turning their attention to how their executive groups are repositioning organisations for the growth opportunities. The goal posts have shifted and it is important that you are also moving with the necessary pace to not only remain relevant, but also to thrive. Whilst “We’re all in this together”, only some will emerge stronger and my bet is on those who will refuse to be constrained or defined by our current climate, but rather those who are prepared to establish new leadership rhythms through investment in their own executive revitalisation.
So why not take the bold step to refocus your energy and the energy of those around you to repositioning your environment to thrive? You can do this by changing the conversation from one focused on how Covid-19 is inhibiting your business environment to one which leans into how your business will pivot in this new environment. We have already heard of the success stories of businesses who have pivoted production facilities to manufacturing much needed hand sanitiser, or the multitude of restaurants who have expanded their home delivery capability. A great outcome for those that were able to adjust quickly, but where to now? The market has caught up and there is no longer a position of “fast mover” advantage. Those that re-imagine again for the second wave of innovation just as quickly will inevitably emerge triumphant.
The cycle of change has shortened. What the market will demand moving forward is greater levels of innovation and an insatiable appetite to evolve. In a recent interview with two of McKinsey’s senior executives it was noted that there are no U-Turns for business. Success will only be achieved by those who act with speed and flexibility. Executives seeking ongoing relevance will be required to contribute beyond their existing disciplines and in ways which challenge the status quo. For instance, the traditional annual strategy and planning and budgeting cycle will have less relevance in current environment. A quarterly or even monthly approach to planning is what will place businesses in greater control and provide the necessary ability to pivot quickly.
The poise required to manage through the current environment will not be sufficient as it is agitation which will trigger people into rethinking, re-imagining and creating a new and improved pathway forward. Confidence and a strong voice is what will be needed. So what are three practical things you can do to ensure that you personally emerge stronger from this crisis?
Schedule a “Future Facing” meeting
Schedule a meeting to discuss the future. If you can contribute to shaping future success you will have less reason to be anxious whether you will be a part of it or not. More than ever, business will need their best and brightest to create the roadmap ahead. Remember that no-one has direct experience in how to get through a global pandemic so be bold and set an agenda, NOT to discuss the here and now, but rather to focus on what is next. Keep the agenda focused on the short-term future so that you can set actionable goals which can be accomplished. This will lift spirits and assist in fostering a positive outlook.
Talk it up and walk the walk!
Once you’ve established what opportunities lie ahead of you, promote these ideas shamelessly. To see the change you need to be the change! It is imperative to garner support for ideas to give them every opportunity to succeed. Promote something that is “bite-sized” for your business so that you can get some funding for it if necessary. Then rally support internally and boast about outcomes externally. People are craving a good news story at the moment. Why not promote the success you’ve had and how you’ve turned the corner. Small wins will create great energy.
Every day is Day One – Welcome to the new normal
That’s the motto of Amazon. Your business should be in “crisis mode” every day. The time has passed to sit back and get comfortable. Amazon acts like a start up every day. Your business needs to do the same. Pandemics come and go (albeit infrequently), but if you behave like a “start up” every day, when these events hit (and they will again… I promise) your business will be agile enough to cope and not only cope… but instead prevail! Urgency, Agile, Uncomfortable, is the new normal.
Our new future leader will need to be brave. It is not enough to have ambition, but rather what is required is to be visionary. Initiate and lead the conversation which seeks to redefine strategy for the way forward and you may just find that this becomes your moment to emerge as the leader you have been working hard to become.