Cosmic’s joint chief executive, Julie Hawker, has provided valuable insight into leadership in times of crisis. How can we “pivot”? – virtualise service delivery, communications, move to e-commerce for retail.
Leadership in Times of Crisis
The Covid19 crisis has evolved rapidly; unexpected in its scale and impact, and preserving health and prevention of spread of the virus was absolutely essential. Meanwhile, all of our businesses plans are being reviewed and challenged (particularly the digital dimensions). How can we “pivot”? – virtualise your service delivery, your communications, move to e-commerce for retail.
Leadership in crisis – what is Important?
- Strong Communications – internal, external – top quality, timely, accurate
- Strategy and Vision – gives confidence and engages people in overall goals
- Effective Planning – sense of direction and confidence in plans
- Ethos – stick with your values and principles (the backbone of the business)
Who is leading when we are in crisis?
Everyone. People at the top of the business, CEOs, Board, senior managers, all need to be sharply focussed on empowering people to take on leadership roles and support others. Inspiring and initiating ideas, communicating effectively, and committing to the ethics of the business. When there are multiple risks and threats to our businesses, this is even more true. Being able to empower, support and trust people at all levels and with different specialisms to act as leaders is vital.
New Models of Crisis Leadership
Strong leaders demonstrate an ability (even in frantic, fast-changing times) to “press pause” and allow a period of assessment of the latest evidence, information and insights, and to assess the response needed. And the moving to anticipation of next events and action planning. Characterised by maintaining a deliberate calmness, and at the same time emitting a sense of realism and optimism. And finally, every leader must prioritise how to keep energy levels high whilst we are working through this period of crisis. The risks of burn-out and exhaustion are high. Leaders cannot work effectively on low energy, and in order to do their work well they need to be fit, health, exercise regularly, eat well and enjoy emotional support.