How to Lead When Everything Will Be Different – 3 Things You Can Do

Time to Read: 2 mins...   

A tiny virus is creating massive change. The worldwide scale and the lack of an immediate cure for COVID-19 means that our fundamental systems are being challenged and shaken. Your team, your organization, and the world around you are shifting and morphing in order to survive. Your leadership must change as well.

Here are three things you can do…
1 - Update Your Thinking –
A leader’s mind must expand and be flexible to grasp what is going on and to craft a path forward. You must see with fresh eyes – both the current reality of your team/organization and the possibilities for the future.

Action Steps:
Ask yourself two questions:

  • Do I think we will return to "normal" soon? (for many organizations, the future will be dramatically different, and it will take time to figure it all out)
  • How open am I to considering a radically different way of doing business?

2 - Challenge Your Whole Operation –
If you have people, processes, procedures, equipment, financial systems, anything that isn’t clearly helping you survive and then thrive – why do you have them?   Get lean, efficient, and forward focused now!

Action Steps:

Have team discussions asking two questions:

  • What do we need to change or do differently that will help us survive and get through the troubles?
  • What should we do now that will help us thrive when we come out the other side?

Your people probably know where the inefficiencies and rocks in the road are. Engage with them in both identifying and fixing problem/opportunity areas.

3 - Reassess Your Vision and Goals -
Now is the time to be thinking about the future. Don’t wait until you think you are safely out of the woods. That will be too late. Others will have taken the initiative and will be strides ahead of you. Talk with your team about vision and where you are headed. Giving meaning to the work you do will be a morale boost that will help them get through the tough times.

Action Steps:

  • Revisit your vision and long-range goals. How do they need to change to match your best assessment of what the future holds? It is unlikely that the plans you had six months ago match up with what you now see on the horizon.
  • Be prepared to update and adjust the vision and goals as the fog lifts and the road ahead becomes clearer. Stay flexible.

Final Action Step:

  • Regarding your team - lead, listen, and show them you care.

What are your thoughts on leading from survive to thrive? – add your comments below.

Charles St.John

  • Eric Siler says:

    Excellent leadership comments! It’s time, more than ever, to transform old ways to new! Keep open-minded, flexible and settle for nothing less than the best!

    • Charles St.John says:

      Yes Eric, you are right – this is a great time to “transform old ways to new.” Since everything is getting scrambled, why not put things together in a new, better way?

  • Ruby Martinez, PhD RN says:

    This is super good. I would add: What is at stake if we don’t make the needed changes? Who do we need to consult with to be ready for the changes? What opportunities exist at this time, what are unmet needs that we might want to look at?
    Thanks for including me, Charles.

    • Charles St.John says:

      Yes, excellent questions to include in the team discussion
      Thanks, Ruby

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