Do you have the Leadership Qualities to Navigate your Business through the COVID Crisis?

Businesses require leadership to successfully navigate their businesses through the current crisis

Do you have the Leadership Qualities to Navigate your Business through the COVID Crisis?

Businesses require leadership to successfully navigate their businesses through the current crisis
Leadership qualities that will make a difference.
It goes without saying that all businesses require a clear vision to be successful. However, most businesses and organisations don’t have an appropriate vision statement that is fit for purpose. Many have vision statements that lack in practicality, using vague and emotive language to help generate feelings of positivity and pride. However, in practice, the vision fails to provide employees with motivation and a clear and coherent guide as to the purpose of their day to day working lives.

Employees need a collective narrative that communicates how their daily activity fits into the collective purpose of the company. When employees know the collective every task they complete and the responsibility they have is uplifted and become more purposeful. A great example of this can be seen in NASA in the 1950s and ’60s. When asked about the purpose of his job, a janitor working there replied, “putting a man on the moon”.

By understanding NASA’s vision, the janitor was able to see how his minor role contributed to the success of the bigger and grander vision of what NASA was trying to accomplish. The vision was understood at all levels from the bottom of the pyramid to the top. Many more organisations would benefit from such a clear vision that motivated employees up and down the organisation. Leadership is ensuring that your organisations vision is working for you.

Ask yourself: How can I lead the change in my company’s vision?

Leadership is ensuring that your organisations vision is working for you.

It is important to ensure that businesses have the right people in the right roles.

Has your organisation grown in a planned and structured way? Or has it evolved in a haphazard manner as the company moved from one development phase to another? If the latter, it may be time to review not just your organisation structure but more importantly the roles which your company requires.

First, set out to define and create the roles which you need. Once done, it is then possible to evaluate and review who in your business is the best fit for those roles and who is not. Use your employees to their strengths!

You might also find during the course of such a review that you are made aware of what skills and areas of expertise you lack in your business. For example, you may come to find there is a need for digital marketing expertise, which no one in the business has any experience with and is a role that needs to be recruited for. The company may discover the need to increase the capability to cope with technological change and the need to recruit for this role. Leadership includes understanding and reviewing the changing needs of the business, training staff for those changing needs and bringing in expertise where necessary to fill gaps in the organisation’s capability and knowledge
Two options, adapt or die.
What is the impact of technological change going to be on your businesses?

We live in a time of rapid technological change. My children don’t remember a world before email, the internet, and mobile phones. I remember a world of steam trains, the cold war with the USSR, miners strikes, computers taking up whole air-conditioned rooms, and rubbish piles up in Leicester Square.

There have been so many changes which we have gone through over the last 50 years, with the development of Cloud-based computing, digital marketing, Zoom meetings and buying your groceries on Amazon to name a few. How will these trends affect the future of your business? Will you embrace these new technologies and ways of working? There are many big firms that didn’t embrace the computer revolution who ended up having to either sell or merge because they failed to adapt and embrace the new ways of working.

Will you provide the leadership that adapts to change?

Are you making the right decisions for improving the future profitability of your businesses?

Typically, most businesses are structured like a pyramid, with the majority of the workforce located in the middle to low rungs. With the ways of doing business changing, it stands to reason how we structure and organise our business needs to change as well.

Ask yourself, what structure may your business need to adopt for the future?

How much will you do yourself?

What will your supply chain look like?

The Covid-19 crisis has brought not only our dependence on China to everyone’s attention but also some unsavory aspects of the Chinese Communist Party’s behaviours towards not only its own people but also in other countries around the world. Think of hat changes will you face in working practices with employees’ experience of working from home.

Will you need to lead your business into a flatter organisational structure? How will this impact training and employee development? All these issues will require clear and decisive leadership.

How much has ‘woke’ attitudes affected your organisation?

We have recently been exposed to a new phrase ‘Woke’. To some people, this is a wonderful new concept. To others, it is an escape from reality. Whichever it is it seems that it will affect businesses and could change the business landscape forever.

Think of what is the impact of this new ideology likely to be on your business? If you are in a creative industry, then it may add to your creativity and your ability to disrupt markets and reap significant financial benefits.

If you’re in more traditional markets where concepts of language require traditional meanings that cannot be changed without undermining the inherent profitability of your business then you may have a difficult time navigating through this changing zeitgeist. Whichever side of the ‘woke’ line you fall; leadership will be crucial in navigating your company through the shoal and rapids ahead.

Cash flow and profit will continue to be essential to business survival. I have just returned from Florence in Italy where Pacoli invented double-entry bookkeeping in the mid-1400s. When my son did AS Accounting it was the only course at secondary school that hadn’t changed since I was at school. In fact, it had not changed since Pacoli invented it in renaissance Italy under the Medici family!

Cash and profit will still be the same in another 550 years’ time. It needs that same degree of attention now and in the future, as our predecessors gave it, in order to pass on the business to future managers and leaders.

Product Development
Without product development businesses die. My wife’s aunt worked for Kodak and she recently visited their large site in Watford which is now up for redevelopment. Kodak died because they did not adapt to the changes in the camera revolution.

Now, most of us take digital photos on our phones or and store them digitally and share them with friends and family on Facebook or Instagram. We use them to make Christmas cards or have them printed on mugs and t-shirts. The uses we’ve found for digital photography are endless.

If Kodak had adapted to the new technology, they could still be a successful business today rather than a rather quaint relic of a bygone age.

What is your new technology or way of thinking that is revolutionising and changing your business industry?

Will you lead your business into new ways of thinking and doing business with innovative products and services? Will you take advantage of new opportunities to reach customers and deliver new services unconceived only a few years ago?

In conclusion:
The choice is yours to adapt or to die.

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The more you examine what is true about your business, the better you will be at prioritising the areas that demand your attention. Here is a series of questions you can use as a starting point for identifying potential problem areas in your company’s financial system. This is not intended to be a full analysis, but rather a tool you can use to focus your attention. Take one question at a time and really think about your answers. This is not a test. There are no right or wrong answers. There are only responses that reflect your truthful objectivity about the state of your business.

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