Rise to the Challenge takeaways: Leading through hardship

May 27, 2020 By: Mario Ciabarra

As previously mentioned, Quantum Metric is hosting a roundtable series with executive leaders to share perspectives on leading through a crisis. Now is the time to turn to the community and lean on each other, because let’s face it: we all could use some help. 

During this recent session, several thoughts were shared on how leaders can best stick to a playbook to survive and overcome a crisis. While it was all inspirational lively discussion, below are several takeaways from the discussion that really stuck with me.

Get comfortable with a crisis playbook
The last major financial crisis was twelve years ago, when executives and employees were much more familiar with a playbook to follow because historically there had been a crisis every three or four years. Your current team is likely not familiar with this–or if they are, it’s rusty. Now we have to create a replicable playbook that will allow us to move forward with speed. 

Follow key leadership checkpoints

  1. Don’t hide – You have to be visible and transparent. If you don’t know an answer, be honest and say you do not know.
  2. Be realistic – Address both external and internal challenges at the same time. Ask if this problem is self-inflicted or coming from the outside.
  3. Distribute attention – Set up several major programs, led by key functional groups, that will allow you to navigate:
    1. Employee assistance – How do you help employees function?
    2. Focus on the customer – What do they need right now? Listen, don’t correct them.
    3. Pick a wildcard – What small bets can you take now? Help your team think beyond the crisis and allow them to use their imagination.
    4. Look forward – Paint a picture of what the company looks like after the crisis.
  4. Be prepared – Anticipate this will last longer and go deeper than you think.
  5. Execute – Stay close and communicate with your team as you move forward.

Set a pace that the team can keep up with
As a leader, the entire team looks to you to guide not only the direction but the momentum as well. If the pace you set is too slow, you will ultimately lose the race against competition. But if it is too fast, your team begins to break under the intensity and fall apart. So be cognizant of the pace you are operating at but also how your team is responding to it. 

Dream big and take risks
This last one can entirely depend on the person, company, or industry, but now is the time to truly separate yourself from the pack. In truth, you gain market share during tough times. 

These sessions have continued to inspire me and I hope that at least a few of these takeaways do the same for you. Let us know what leadership tactics you have been hearing and stuck with you!

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