Strategic Vision Holds the Key to Not Just Survive, But Thrive, in a Post-COVID World
John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” The current global pandemic has brought this concept to life in new ways, as every company is scrambling to recalibrate and learn how to effectively run their business and manage strategic execution amidst a turbulent environment.
It’s not easy to lead a company to success in the very best of times; the worst of times tests the mettle of even the most accomplished leaders; and, in times of absolute uncertainty like we find ourselves currently, leadership is a heroic feat of juggling that requires the ability to stay grounded yet flexible, to be inspiring but also rooted in reality.
If you’re tasked with leading a team, a department or an entire business strategy, recognize that the current environment is new to everyone. While there may be no hard and fast answers, there are tried and true principles that apply as they always have. Now is the time to focus on the fundamentals of strong leadership and, rather than try and predict the unknown, strategically manage what is in front of you and let that build toward a strong future.
Differentiate and deliver in an uncertain environment
Leadership is always tasked to differentiate its product, service and message from what else is out there. This can feel daunting right now when everything about the way you’re doing business is differentiated from how it always used to be!
It can also feel overwhelming to see companies around you who are taking the bait and running with a strong message, growth numbers or success stories even during the pandemic. Still, others are folding under the pressure. Where does that leave your organization?
To better distinguish – and grow – your business in a challenging environment, it’s crucial to ask some hard questions.
- What are your strengths right now, and what are your weaknesses?
- Where do you honestly stand against the competition?
- How much capital do you have and how long can you continue?
- Do you have to cut back now, and do you have a plan to rebuild again in the near future?
Understanding the answers to these questions will help make your opportunity, as well as your obstacles, more clear. Most companies have moved beyond the crisis phase of the first few weeks of self-isolation and shelter in place orders, and should now be entrenched in figuring out next steps for longer term growth and success. This is the perfect time to consider your Transformational Strategic Execution and grade both yourself and your company on your ability to embrace change and pivot as needed.
Navigate change while staying true to the vision
One of the hardest parts of leadership is the ability to adjust your sails while staying true to your course. In times of great uncertainty, it can be tempting to allow your team to be influenced by every sway of the wind. Sometimes the loudest voices make the most impact, but those voices aren’t always in line with the company’s strategy and vision. In other words, they don’t know what you know.
Now is the time to double down on your vision and reassess what changes should be made that can map back to your goals and strategy for achieving your overarching mission.
StrategyBlocks recently implemented the Japanese Kanban approach to strategic management that gives you a ‘bottoms-up’ view of how effectively your organization is managing projects and accomplishing tasks. When coupled with other existing visuals to track strategy, including another element borrowed by the Japanese called Hoshin that allows you to view goal progress from the ‘top-down,’ StrategyBlocks is making it possible for you to draw straight lines from your projects to your goals to your vision to your mission.
Never before has this level of insight been so critical, as the winds of change are blowing strong and businesses everywhere are doing what they can to best stay afloat. Keeping an eye clearly focused on your long term plans will help you manage even the roughest seas.
Build a legacy
Thinking about the kind of legacy you are building may seem counterintuitive when you’re focused on simply keeping the lights on. Leadership has to be more than just managing the day to day however, even in times of economic turmoil.
The mark of a good leader is one who can embed value into every company initiative, while simultaneously nurturing the team to create a new generation of leaders. Nurturing requires ongoing communication, which can prove challenging when workers are remote. Creating a clear plan of action, using a variety of channels to communicate and allowing for flexibility among employees is a great place to start.
Holding yourself accountable as a leader is also critical to long term success. The challenges you face may seem overwhelming and you may be tempted to take your foot off the gas and just try and coast until the horizon becomes more clear. Unfortunately, this approach will not only frustrate and weaken the team, it will stall efforts to plan, prepare and execute on the future.
StrategyBlocks can support your efforts to lead even in uncertainty by creating tangible, visual insights into what is working now, what is no longer working and where your efforts are best spent for the future. Contact us today and let us walk you through a demo or try us out for 30 days. We’re confident we can set your organization up for success even as the COVID storm continues to rage.