Finding a path through economic uncertainty is a huge leadership challenge. So, what are the essentials, and where could you improve? Whether you work in a large corporation or a start-up the same principles apply.
- Adopt the right mindset. Downturns are a time for calm, constructive thinking and a willingness to try new things. Show drive and urgency but avoid an excess of emotion. Connect with colleagues and customers. The greatest stress is the stress we put on ourselves, so ask for support and ideas, check-in with others, test your thinking and show gratitude (it is hard to be anxious when you are grateful).
- Innovate – and be bold. In times of uncertainty radical thinking is often needed, and this carries with it the need to minimise risk.
- Master the essentials: 1) ruthless prioritisation focusing on the most valuable activities; 2) connecting with customers; 3) increasing revenues (eg improving pricing and sales); 4) managing finances, notably cash, costs, revenue and investment; 5) using technology to reduce costs, innovate, communicate and deliver.
- Develop and execute a plan. Gather ideas, prioritise, assign responsibilities, give people a challenge, provide support and check-in often. People need to know where they are heading, their role in the journey, and they want to influence the outcome.
- Provide consistent leadership – notably a growth mindset; openness; practical support, challenge and encouragement; decisiveness; empathy, example, and a clear direction. Remember, it is easier to move towards a positive than away from a negative.