9 Tips For Leading Through Adversity
#1 Embrace Reality
Accept this new reality and try to avoid comparing our current situation to how it was before. It’s time to move past fear and discomfort and focus on the things you can control. Assess your situation, resources, challenges, and responsibilities, and keep your eyes forward.
#2 Know the Facts
Digital media and the news bombard us with information. Do your research, verify, and consistently stay informed. Ambiguity already exists and bad intel can cause panic and unnecessary hysteria. It’s critical to gather the appropriate information related to near-term aspects of your business and use it to formulate a plan.
#3 Avoid Knee-jerk Decisions
During times when there is a significant decline in economic activity including the last recession or current pandemic, companies large and small have a tendency to make rash decisions including slashing budgets and headcount. Organizations that have and will survive in times of change play the waiting game and resist the urge to react. They take the opportunity to bring people together (in-person or virtually) to get creative and adapt to the changing landscape. Panic is contagious, take a step back, and understand what options you have before pulling the trigger.
#4 Have an 80% Plan
We spend significant time with our clients on more progressive planning and debriefing models so they can gain a better rhythm of execution. Whatever your plans were before a crisis, there is a good chance you will need to collect new data and fall back on contingency plans.
Gather your team this week, encourage their participation, identify threats and blockages, and develop new contingency plans. Preparation is just as important as planning. You will most likely generate ideas that could level up your business and put you in a position to be stronger than before.
#5 Control what you can, ignore what you can’t
During times of change many of us feel unsettled and on edge. As leaders, it is our responsibility to focus on what we can control and deprioritize what we can’t. Staying in your three-foot world will help you and our team stay focused on what’s in your immediate control.
Even when everything is going as planned, it’s important to communicate. Make sure a specific communication strategy is part of your 80% plan. Although working remotely is easier than ever, the challenge is keeping everyone engaged and feeling they are part of one team with the same mission. Be a positive driving force and foster an environment of psychological safety where everyone has a voice. When your team is feeling uneasy, over-communicating in an aligned fashion (top-down and bottom-up) is critical.
#7 Be Disciplined and Innovative
Now is the time to be more disciplined and expect innovation. Use this time to rally your teams around new ideas and strategies. If your business has slowed down, take time with your staff to plan, discuss strategy, create content, develop new initiatives, or analyze your finances. Doing fun and innovative things can be a great distraction while keeping the team engaged and focused on long-term business success.
#8 Build Trust and Accountability
High-performance teams develop trust and accountability by maintaining consistency in their actions, behaviors, and rituals. Trust and accountability are culture pillars that ensure teams can remain agile and effective in uncertain and changing environments. It’s important for leaders to incorporate accountability mechanisms into their short and long-term plans. Making it clear what’s expected and the corresponding behavior of that expectation is imperative for maintaining company-wide consistency in actions and behaviors.
#9 Find the Silver Lining
Let’s all embrace the time we have. Focus your attention on what’s most important. Family, friends, health, and faith to name some examples. Take this time to reflect on the things you have and practice gratitude. Adversity is a test so lean in and know with the right mindset there are no challenges you can’t overcome.
This article was originally published by Brent Gleeson on Forbes titled The Coronavirus Challenge: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Leading Through Adversity.
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