Saying that leadership is a challenge right now is an understatement. From the global pandemic, to the recent civil unrest impacting business in a myriad of ways, to attempting to ensure your business is weathering the ensuing economic volatility, how can a CEO demonstrate the sure-handed, consistent approach stakeholders expect? Particularly when the playbook is being re-written daily?
I turned to David Stark, known for his Executive coaching skills and level-headed approach to guiding CEOs and other leaders through difficult situations. Here are Dave’s Top 5 Leadership Actions that form a toolkit for navigating any crisis.
Take a look at the relationships that may need to move to the top of your priority list: Your Leadership team, your customers, your suppliers and partners to name just a few. The Board and other Stakeholders internal and external to your organization are important too – but during a crisis, a focus on those closest to running the business is primary. All stakeholders need to be aligned and engaged as you navigate this, or any, crisis.
Revisiting the original intent of your organization reminds you of what you stand for, and also helps you determine what not to do.
Try asking these questions of yourself before each new decision:
Now more than ever you need to practice scenario planning around key elements of the business. Gather your leadership team and meet to ensure everyone is on the same page – and then meet individually to review functional area plans.
Be rigorous. Build at least 7 new scenarios that do one of these game changers, if possible:
Employees need reassurance right now. They need to know there is a clear path for the business and that their leaders are aligned. Outline actions, admit when you don’t know something and share a plan to get there. Great leaders go further and ask for input from employees on important decisions before they make them.
You didn’t get where you are in business without building resilience. A recent McKinsey article states it may be five years before the economy fully recovers. But there are steps you can take today to help maintain that resilience in the face of a crisis.
Adversity does not necessarily mean setbacks are permanent. Wise leaders have offered us perspectives that underscore that if it is crisis or opportunity that we have been given, let’s not waste it. Finally, do not think you need to solve all the problems of your organization alone. People around you will feel honored if you ask them to join you in the fight to thrive and succeed.
About our Authors
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David Stark has worked with leaders of organizations in the areas of leadership development, culture enhancement, and business strategy. He currently works in the Twin Cities area as a business and non-profit consultant as President of BusinessKeys Int.