As we all know the onset of the pandemic has left unprecedented challenges for everyone and leadership is no different.
Ongoing uncertainty has led to diminishing cash, reduced sale, contracting markets, and worst of all dwindling morale. Well guided leadership is the need of the hour.
Leaders are expected to face uncertainty and take appropriate action, make a quick decision, bring positive change, steer growth for a better position of the organization and all this requires a lot of flexibility amid uncertainty, and fear.
Let’s discuss some of the factors that are crucial for effective leadership in an organization.
Cash: Your involvement is desired in pricing policy and mechanisms. Shift your attention to balance sheets and raise cash. Start to protect cash flow by cutting the cost.
Redo your budget frequently to do a reality check. Devise an effective compensation plan as well. You should start to rethink capital expenditures and the R&D budget. You can even consider outsourcing of staff functions. Board must help management strike the right balance
Budgeting and Capital expenditures will have to come under laser-sharp scrutiny. do your own zero-based budgeting.
To protect the liquidity crunch, deliberately give up the increase in revenue and market share.
Cut cost and raise cash. It is very essential to Protect cash flow and use cash efficiently at the same time prepare for the worst. Lower cash break even point. The shift of focus from income to balance sheet will help the business.
Management Intensity: Get into the details of business and follow-through, hands-on involvement, and follow-through will help to steer the company through these tough times.
Brand Identity: Brand identity serves as a differentiator. It is important for the product to live up to the promise of the brand.
The New Intensity Of Management: Leaders must operate with management intensity being hands-on and head in. Ground-level intelligence is required to gain information around suppliers and partners. Due to ongoing uncertainty, it is irrelevant to set annual targets. Set weekly, monthly and quarterly targets to have a frequency of control. Use your ground intelligence and act. Leadership includes managers, CEOs who need to give reassurance and guidance to everyone in the company. Try to Interact with subordinates more.
The Core Of The Company: The core of the company like your customer’s top-level managers should be protected. Good communications are very important to protect information flow and motivation. You need to demonstrate flexibility and agility as well to keep up with the pace. It is essential to s sharpen or strengthen the core
Evaluate your organizational structure, especially sales and marketing to not just reduce cost but also to focus on what they need to do for the customer and against the competition. Salespeople should reevaluate the product lines and distribution channels to develop the best value proposition.
Being the head of the organization you must exude honest conviction and set an affirmative feel about the company’s being. Share the facts and details of the company’s financial health and lastly deploy resources constructively.
Today every leader must exhibit these six traits
- Honesty and credibility:
- The ability to inspire:
- Real-time connection with reality
- Realism tempered with optimism
- Managing with intensity
- Boldness in building for the future
Today’s leaders must imbibe the sense of Honesty and Credibility, The Ability to Inspire, a vision, and ground-level intelligence by continuously monitoring change. Top management must show deep personal involvement and act with the speed that is required in a volatile environment. CEOs of the company must reflect boldness. They need to decide where to focus, where to cut, and where to increase.
Boards need to motivate management teams to confront the new reality and win in spite of it.
An improved value proposition can be developed using the right targets, focusing on the right segments and products. This helps to preserve the voice of the brand.
Customer Service: Customer service is another important factor to focus on during such a crisis.
Staff your operations commensurate with the need for customer service.
Also, you can reflect on how you can reinvent and reorganize R&D activities, bearing in mind that R&D is for bench scientists and not administrators. Try focusing on new products and disruptive research as well.
Partnership: It will take skill, judgment, and leadership to find the right partners, but they do exist.
Try to tighten the links between suppliers, your own company’s operations, and your customers.
Re-examine existing partnerships to determine whether they are the most effective and efficient under the new conditions,
In tough times, the centralization of functions is a fast way towards effectiveness. Combining different functions can also be useful as well.
A leader should keep the discussion upbeat and focused on how to solve problems for the company to be better, more flexible, and correctly positioned than the competition
They must align everyone with the company’s goal of preparing for the worst and looking toward long-term success. The owners must inspire and listen to their people especially salespeople.
Get the salespeople focused on what they need to do for the customer and against the competition.
Sales and marketing have an important role to play in re-evaluating product lines and distribution channels to determine which to push, which to revamp, and which to drop.
Ground-level intelligence is the need of the hour. The company’s financial health and liquidity should be monitored every day.
The top-level management can increase the frequency of control, setting targets on a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly basis
CEO role: CEO’s of the company have a crucial role as everyone is looking to them not only for reassurance but also for specific direction. The CEO has to provide reassurance as well as guidance to everyone in the company.
They must become more operational and interact with subordinates much more frequently,
You cannot afford to keep those who are indecisive, those who tend to be loners, and those who are frozen in analysis paralysis. The two major responsibilities that must be met through communication like information flow and motivation must be well taken care of, unfiltered, and in real-time.
In this article I have discussed the role of leadership during a pandemic. I am a leadership enthusiast and keep learning from well known leaders around the world. “Leadership in the era of economic uncertainty” by Ram Charan is one of my favorite works in the field of leadership and learning. I highly recommend this book.
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