Lead through adversity


The pandemic has brought about a massive shift in work culture, with many employees calling working from home the “new normal.” Businesses needed to be nimble to set up a workforce with the right tools and procedures to work effectively from home while maintaining a strong corporate culture from distributed environments.

Now that life is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels and some of the workforce has returned to in-person work, either full-time or a hybrid work-from-home model. There are tensions between employees and employers over what the work model should look like as employers strive for maximum productivity, while employees want to keep their flexible hours and put their lives first. personal. This has contributed to the “Great Quit”, as employees change jobs in search of better benefits.

There’s a lot of instability in the never-before-tried hybrid work model, and we’re entering a period of adversity. Many of the fantastic innovative companies we see today were born in the last 20 years and didn’t really have to face a lot of adversity in the marketplace because it was a strong economy and of a bull market cycle. The cost of money has been low, allowing us to borrow to build and expand businesses. Many executives have not gone through an inflation cycle or are facing a difficult market environment. The IPO market is unattractive, lending rates are rising, the mindset of investors has shifted from growth to profitability.

We are now entering a cycle of adversity and we will all need to hone our leadership skills. We need to rethink how we engage with our people, how we build our culture, and build a strong, cohesive business that executes and operationalizes strategy in this difficult and adverse cycle.

Here are some of the things my pattern recognition has taught me:

1. The CEO and the management team must report to the office. If you show up, others will follow. Everyone wants to be where the power is. They want to learn, they want to grow, they want to be seen, they want to be recognized. If there was ever a time for mentoring and coaching, it’s now. If you show up, the rest of the team will come back. FOMO is real. If you come, they will come.

2. The little things matter in this time of adversity. Many stock options are underwater. We are still in the great war of talents and the great resignation. The little things matter. Sitting with people, coaching them, helping them learn and develop their skills will make all the difference in their loyalty to you.

3. Lead with empathy Appreciating your employees and recognizing their contributions is more important than ever. Encourage your team leaders to recognize and recognize the challenges the team is facing, whether it’s restructuring or doing more with less, whether it’s reprioritizing and meeting planned commitments…this is a time of pressure and it is important to recognize your employees who are working under pressure.

4. Clarity is key. Make the decisions. Explain trade-offs. Align OKRs and deliverables. Be in touch daily/weekly. Debrief, learn from losses and celebrate victories.

When faced with times of adversity, a CEO must shift their mindset from a visionary, growth-oriented, peacetime CEO to a wartime, crisis-driven, and on operations.

Adversity calls for a warlord. You need to build a clear and crisp vision of your goals and what success “looks like”. You must build a tight-knit team that will accompany you on the battlefield. They need to sense your courage, your clarity, and your conviction to win to follow you through this phase of your business challenges as you navigate adversity.

When you look at some of the attributes of great leaders, the attributes that have helped them gain popularity are:

1. Integrity: A great leader always acts with integrity and earns the respect and trust of their team.

2. Decisiveness: The ability to assimilate data quickly, weigh options, and quickly make an informed decision will keep the business moving forward.

3. Knowledge: Keeping abreast of the latest industry trends and taking the pulse of socio-economic status will enable the leader to make the right decisions.

4. Endurance: The ability to endure hardship and not let loss discourage you or shake your confidence in your organization’s mission and vision will propel the business forward.

5. Self-awareness: A great leader must have self-awareness to know their strengths and weaknesses so they can surround themselves with the right team to strengthen them where they are not as strong. Don’t be a leader who tries to hide your weaknesses, instead focus on flexing your strengths and have the wisdom to rely on those who are stronger in other areas to guide you (stay humble).

When you’re going through a tough time, make sure you’ve empowered all of your employees to make decisions, to be accountable and give you feedback, and to see your team as true thinking partners. Foster camaraderie within the team. You need to be a visionary and inspire the team to see the end goal with you so everyone knows they will win together as a team.

Tracking is essential when going through adversity. If your employees feel like you treat them as anonymous employees, they won’t be motivated to follow you and support you in difficult times. Your team needs to feel that you are their greatest ally and advocate and that you genuinely support each of their individual successes, not just the company’s success.

It’s an opportunity to grow as a leader and maximize everyone’s abilities. Be inspired by George Patton’s mantra for leading through adversity: “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow!” »

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