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Defining Priorities and Setting Direction Amid Uncertainty

We’re now one full year into a new normal that’s gripped the world. Not getting political here only to say while COVID has severely impacted the lives of millions, my professional opinion is too many have stopped living life giving up control of your lives. Not me, nor many of my friends, family, peers and colleagues. If you’re of a similar belief, then read on. If not, my opinion is irrelevant to you. Here are the facts in how to adapt, overcome and reset 2021 amidst this global obstacle.

Living & Leading in a Landslide of Change

First and foremost, we hope you are safe and healthy. We’re experiencing a gradual reset after the shutter and evolution from our clients as they begin to reopen for the health of their people and of their businesses. Maintaining a lifeline with us, our clients and potential clients have utilized our resources to stay grounded, challenge the global situ and continue to focus on executing strategically through this landslide of change.

Second, as you may have realized, we stepped away from inundating your inbox with the repetitive drivel some of my peers attempt to SELL YOU ON “how-to” this and “adapting-to” that with regard to the pandemic. We have enough grey hairs living through the past six decades of change to calmly asses before announcing some bold or even BS prediction of what actions demand our immediate attention.

Third, I’m tired of the socio-political narrative of divisiveness. Just Stop! We all survived Y2K, 9/11, Ebola and other global pandemics of epic proportions. Most of us will survive this too! I’m not making light of this global event either. It’s time to make a decision to live and to move forward to reestablish and redefine what becomes possible for us individually and collectively. Finally, here’s the remaining question:

How do we take action to lead, and emerge stronger from something all of us have never experienced before?

We helped keep you grounded with 4 Principles in Turning Your Situation Around answering the greater ‘why’ or pupose of what your contribution is as an organization and collectively as a group of employees to society. TURN 1:  Provide a Vision of the Future by Creating Predictable Reassurance.

Our shared values and shared learning experiences teach us to copy, coach and adopt a mindset to pass on the knowledge and wisdom we’ve gained. This interaction and building of relationships help to unite us as we, as a group, combat the unknown. TURN 2:  Provide Continuity to Lead With Predictability. 

Our very survival as human beings is dependent on relationships and building community through our shared identity, roles versus power and your influence creating a sense of belonging. TURN 3:  Determine Your Social Position Allowing Predictable Contribution.

By copying, adopting or complying within the group or organization, we adopt behaviors of ‘this is how we’re expected to work together.’ TURN 4:  Reduce Insecurity by Controlling Predictability. All 4 Turns allow us as individuals and as a collective group of employees to Predictably Celebrate, which Gives Us Hope when the worst happens and happened.

Your organization before, during and as we emerge from the pandemic has a dominant and a secondary archetype. If you believe you’re three or all of these, then we have a problem. If your organization is to Survive and Thrive through the next 12-months, plus 12-months, then a laser-like focus on your common values and belief is required.  Let’s look at how an athlete survives and thrives. The line between an elite athlete and high-performing athlete is incredibly thin.

Both take hard work  all without any guarantee of long-term success. Both dedicate years of commitment and sacrifice their lives training and competing to reach the highest level. Athletes know the risks of injury as part of the game and when it happens it can be devastating – fear, anxiety, anger and depression set in.

What they do next is what separates the good from the great.

Survive mode: hypersensitive to threats focused on problem-solving. They get stuck in the fear of not being able to perform at the previous level again. Those athletes typically don’t achieve their same peak performance. Some refuse to acknowledge the severity of the injury, which limits the rehabilitation process and greatly increases the likelihood of reinjury.

Thrive mode: they fine tune their greatest strengths on and off the field, seek out opportunities, collaborate and innovate. They use this period to challenge themselves, to learn critical lessons, to rethink, to broaden their sense of identity and creatively visualize how successful their future can become.

In Business and in Life, It Takes a Setback to Have a Comeback

When “the worst” happens, many people within the organization are likely in Survive – as they should be at the beginning. Staying in Survival Mode won’t help the organization recover, however.  Senior leaders must acknowledge and help others understand the situation. They must lead, over communicate and empathize with everyone. They must move forward personally and professionally focused on actions to accountability and fine-tune the systems at play. They’re called to lead and demonstrate commitment to finding a path forward building on the core values and beliefs of the business – those that inspire employees to come to work every day – while also embracing a spirit of rediscovery and innovation.

Leaders in the midst of recovering from a significant setback know to leverage this moment in time to consider the type of organization they want to become.

  • They inspire confidence by ensuring everyone at all levels learns the right lessons,

  • They ground themselves in the organization’s core values,

  • They explore how they can innovate to bring unique value in the current market, and

  • They determine what they need to stop doing to protect against the same setbacks in the future.

Doing so will help ensure an organization can thrive again – and perhaps even exceed pre-injury performance levels. Leadership teams play a vital role in this dynamic. Most of the time, a leader’s value is tied to their ability to plan for and lead through the unanticipated.

A simple and undeniable fact is many global leaders expose their true success or failure to some degree under stressful circumstances. Who we truly are as leaders can be examined when we are predisposed to making decisions which may not be the best ones under these circumstances. Which brings us to our second dilemma, fear. Fear, in turn, is exacerbated by three factors:

1. Lack of predictability,

2. Lack of control, and 

3. Lack of an end in sight

Knowing these primary drivers of fear, and in turn of our Survival response, post-pandemic winners know they need to take immediate action to shift all three of these dimensions. From our experience, those winners who emerge from this pandemic-driven downturn better than before will be those who not only understand their businesses and their value chains, but who have a deeeper understanding of how our brains work.

Unless you operate in an entirely automated environment with no people involved, your performance will depend on how you are able to effectively harness the potential of your workforce – the single biggest differentiator for success. Read more…

Surviving in Action. When all’s well within your organization, individuals act, threats go away, anxiety reduces, we relax, catch our breath and we mostly return to a normal with our cognitive problem-solving abilities.

Thriving in Action. When all’s well within your organization, individuals innovate often passionately and continue to until the opportunity has been realized.

How do we lead change with confidence and agility when all around us is nebulous?

  • Continual Focus on Advancing Mission-critical Deliverables

  • Passionate Customer Obsession

  • Alway Be A Leader

These three dimensions are a useful starting point – relevant, timely, easy to process. As more businesses adopt hyper customer-centric models, i.e., Amazon, Shipt, rising customer expectations on quality of service experience follow. Despite your uncertainty, there’s much you already know about what’s necessary and required to deliver your mission. Predictable improvements are required to ensure your ongoing services delivery. It all comes down to can you lead when called upon and ‘will you have the courage to stand up, step up and lead’ regardless your role within the organization?

We have a proven program in the Elegant Leader with Voltage platform you can walk through in a self-track module. You can also have us be your guidepost throughout your journey. If you’d like to know more on How to Lead Through a Landslide of Change, click here for a FREE guide.

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