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Leading Out of Crisis


As shelter in place orders are lifting and we prepare to re-open the economy we must be prepared to re-engage our teams and recover lost momentum.  Although no-one knows what the new normal will be and what challenges lurk around the corner, it’s critical we provide new levels of shared vision, tap into our team’s hidden potential, and build a culture of engagement and high performance.  Now, more than ever before, it is time to be GREAT leaders!

Step Away From the Fight – When catastrophe strikes, leaders tend to move toward the fight to engage the threat head on.  Our peers look towards our decision making in times of adversity and count on us to make the most effective decision for the benefit of the team. This talent is what makes exemplary leaders in times of crisis; but how do we lead out of crisis?  It is crucial to start emphasizing recovery planning and leading towards the future.  Although we don’t know when we will be out, we must balance our time between being reactive and proactive.

Reassess Your Strategy and Objectives – It is likely your 2020 business strategy and objectives are no longer in reach.  Work with your team to establish new and aggressive goals that remain achievable.  Unattainable goals kill organizational buy-in while ever changing goals are emotionally draining.

Identify the Gaps, Create Focus, and Prioritize – Not all goals and gaps are equal.  Take time to prioritize your goals and assess gaps based on impact and ease of implementation.  Focus on the top goals avoiding low impact, resource intensive solutions.  You and your team need wins!

Engage Your Team in the Solutions - Everyone wants to contribute to success.  Engage the doers in your organization in effort to identify solutions from the boardroom to the line level.  The experts in our business surround us and it is our responsibility to extract and nurture their expertise.

Delegate, Empower and Support – We are surrounded by people with great passion and potential.  Delegation and empowerment throughout your organization will identify future leaders, reveal unidentified talent, and deliver company-wide buy-in.  Getting their DNA into the business is a win!  Remember, you only succeed if they succeed; providing your unconditional support is your primary responsibility to the team.

Monitor and Communicate Effectively – As our teams recover from crisis don’t assume that they share the same alignment, confidence and commitment to the plan and process.  Openly and honestly communicate the vision, plan, recovery progress, initiative failures and successes, and poll for feedback. Now, it’s time to listen.  In times of uncertainty what we want to share is less important than what they want to hear.  Balance the message and deliver often!

Accept Setbacks, Learn, and Adjust Quickly– No one really knows what the new normal will look like as it evolves every day.  We can expect that initiatives we thought were on target yesterday may be off target today or ill-conceived tomorrow, all for reasons out of our control.  Accept the fact you will face set-backs along the way.  Take the opportunity to reflect with the team about failure, quickly adjust, and re-engage.  Learning from failures generates wins!

Celebrate Victories – Now more than ever, your team needs to understand that you value their support and contributions to the success of the organization.  Recognition for successes of all sizes will reinforce the team’s commitment, confidence and willingness to continue in the recovery.  Lack of recognition will stifle creativity, drain the discretionary effort pool and limit the success of the team.

As business leaders we all pursue the same objective; maximize our organization’s performance.  By leveraging operational excellence philosophies, crises can become a catalyst for positive change, creating new opportunities, tapping unforeseen potential, and creating cultures of ownership and improvement that will never settle for the status quo.  It is time to lead your team to GREATNESS!

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