As a trusted strategic advisor and facilitator, I feel privileged to get a candid, inside look at businesses and a snapshot of what is working and what is not during this COVID-19 challenge. I consistently observe how the impact of these challenges amplifies strengths; in some cases, a team’s weaknesses (opportunities) become clear. What I mean by this is healthy, trusting leadership teams typically thrive due to their open and honest dialogue when facing tough challenges together, and if they have clarity of where the organization is headed.
The current challenges and future unknowns are hugely impacting everyone – how we deal with them is what matters. Dysfunctional teams tend to react only to the challenges presented. Some folks may return to old habits, internalize their concerns, work harder, dictate orders, retreat into their shell, point fingers, and/or blame others. On the other hand, healthier teams seem to step back and assess the situation, acknowledge the concerns and fears, and collaborate with other members to create an action plan to mitigate the short-term challenges. The action plan also includes ways to lead and communicate, as well as how to identify and test the opportunities.
I suggest that under these assumptions, if there are two companies that do the exact same thing under the exact same parameters, it is likely that you will see two different outcomes. In a normal business environment, the differences in outcome could be very minor; however, in situations like our current global pandemic, the probability of the dysfunctional team going extinct and the healthy team thriving increases dramatically. I see proof of this every day.
I am seeing these varying reactions within entire leadership teams and to the individuals on those teams. As Jim Collins talks about “putting the right people in the right seats,” stressful times will validate that this is the right approach. Crisis tends to amplify the need for clear company values and having the right people in the right seats. When the company is clear about its values (and during times of extreme stress), observing how people react will often be reflective of how well the organization is living its own values. This same thinking applies to the right seat. In times of crisis, the responsibilities for each individual need to be clear – and each person should be accountable to their own responsibilities.
When it is “business as usual,” it can be easy for individuals who are not the right person in the right seat to hide in the background. The pressure of crisis tends to shine a bright light on everyone. Those who are the right person in the right seat will shine and excel in challenging times; those who are not tend to become scared and reactionary as the pressure builds. By not having the right person in the right seat, the pressure is likely to amplify and become much more apparent.
Regardless of where you sit within your organization, I encourage you to look at these challenges as opportunities. Use this amplification to smoke out and address those long-avoided issues. Make the most out of this pressure by seeing what you can address that you have been avoiding for way too long.
Are you a leader looking to amplify your company’s values? Is your organization in need of addressing longstanding issues? Now is the time! And we can help. Contact us today to learn more.