While the difficult decisions leaders are facing as a result of the coronavirus threat may be new and mired in uncertainty, leaders have always needed the ability to pivot in a timely fashion based on unexpected challenges. Your approach to the current unknowns and hardships can make all the difference in how your organization is able to bounce back. Philosophers have long recognized that necessity is the mother of invention. What about you?
Are you viewing the current disruptions as “merely” an unavoidable burden/inconvenience/financial hardship on your organization (which it undoubtedly is!), or are you also on the lookout for creative responses that will ultimately strengthen the way you work? There will be no such thing as returning to “business as usual” but we will eventually find a new normal. How can you use the current challenges to proactively invent what that new normal will look like?
The decisions you make in the most challenging times form the foundation of how you will function in the best of times. Are you making decisions from a place of fear and defensiveness, or with a confidence that you will come out of this experience stronger and more resilient? Your people are looking to you as a gauge for how they should respond. This is not a time to downplay the challenges before you, however a calm, measured response will go a long way toward encouraging your staff to respond in kind.
Not feeling calm and measured? At times like this, it is perfectly okay to go into duck mode — where you look like you are gliding smoothly across the water at the same time you are paddling like crazy under the surface! And the cool thing is, when you intentionally present a confident exterior, you start to buy it on the inside, too. Sure you are still going to be paddling as fast as you can, but you also get into a rhythm that maximizes your effort and that of your people allowing you to surge forward in exciting directions.
Right now, external pressures are requiring that we change how we do business. Will you choose to see those changes as a barrier that keeps you from accomplishing your best-laid plans, or a temporary necessity that can serve as the mother of invention for even better ways to accomplish your goal? Someone will see this experience — this current necessity — as a springboard to reinvent how your business is done.
Will it be you?