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Fearless Leadership in These Tough Times

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Author - Steve Wilcox - March 2020

Our business world faces disruptions, the likes of which we haven’t experienced before now. It’s time for leaders to step up. What does it take to be a leader as we face the unknowns and chaos? Resiliency and Optimism. That’s YOU, right now, TODAY.

Are you up for the challenge?

When the coronavirus first hit, few business leaders imagined we’d be where we are at today. Now more than ever The Resultants core value of “Fearless Leadership” needs to help guide our decision making, plans and actions.

As leaders we deal with a VUCA world on a daily basis. VUCA is an acronym used by the US military to describe extreme conditions. Since its inception, it has transitioned to the business environment. Our work world is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Get used to it…this is the new norm.

So, what does fearless leadership look like in the face of a VUCA environment?

  1. Volatility.  First, Change Your Mindset. Social distancing does NOT mean curling up in the fetal position so you can avoid dealing with issues. Instead look at this as an opportunity to collaborate with your teams to find new solutions to these challenges. Step up and schedule a time to work on contingency plans. Leaders exemplify proactive behavior which calms the reactionary responses you are seeing. Be prepared to share your “modified” vision that includes “how we’re going to get through this together”.
  2. Uncertainty.  This is all about managing change; in this case, how to work ourselves out of a crises. The way we performed business in the past is not the way that will get us out. Be a leader that acknowledges change and step up to the fact that people react to change differently. To combat uncertainty leaders have that ability to stop, look and listen. They step way beyond their functional box on the accountability chart to communicate well across the entire organization.
  3. Complexity.  Get excited over learning and developing new ways to approach the chaos. Develop a nimble workforce that adapts on the fly. Leaders strive to create clarity for their people.
    • Leverage technology: the wave of the future includes cloud-based remote conferencing, remote work environments, shared files, and updated security measures. Step up to a new normal.
    • Cross train: to cover someone else’s position. Prevent the loss of productivity when an individual can’t get to work. Step up and establish expectations for work productivity, update process & procedures, then coach others to accept the new norm… varied responsibilities.
    • Develop skill-sets for when business takes off again in order to retain your valuable workforce.
  4. Ambiguous.  Fearless leaders thrive under ambiguity. They take the unknowns and clarify in the best interest of the organization. They predict in order to reset the focus by using measurables; numbers they can rely on to stay the course or course correct quickly. This is called agility – the ability to move and quickly apply solutions.

Speaking of solutions…

Today I received these communications. Which mindset is most like yours?

Company 1 Message by email:  “Our bank lobby is closed – drive up only”

Company 2 Message by social media:  “Take advantage of the lowering interest rates, use our online checklist, we can navigate your refinancing online”

Restaurant 1 Message by email:  “We are closed due to the Pandemic”

Restaurant 2 Message by social media:  “Due to present times we would like to encourage our valued customers to take advantage of our takeout and delivery in addition to our new Curbside Pickup Program! [link to menu]”

 

One of our business owners described our current economic stall this way: “I love times like this. It allows us to be aggressive and secure more market share.”

Fearless Leadership is about sustaining AND thriving at a time when others are spinning their wheels. At The Resultants we believe this attribute shows up in the meetings you hold, the issues you solve, and the actions and rocks you pursue. Yes, today we are in a climate of chaos, but it is up to YOU, TODAY to step up and lead the way to your new normal.

Author, Steve Wilcox, is President and Senior Business Advisor with The Resultants. To learn more about Steve, visit our Team Page or connect with him on Linkedin.

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