The truth of COVID is glaring at us – challenged businesses and weakening economy. In these times, what would it take leaders to take COVID head-on?
DARE it is! D à Digital mindset, A à Agility, R à Resilience, E à Empathy
With these four weapons, leaders can DARE COVID to make their organizations survive and succeed beyond the pandemic.
Digital mindset: In the past it is Digitization which has caused disruption and now for the first time, it is disruption that is driving digitization at a lightning speed!
Most organizations were using digitization to improve customer experience and facilitate seamless data flow through sales and service touchpoints. The advent of COVID has now challenged existing sales and service delivery models. Suddenly the customers seem inaccessible and the markets seem to have shrunk drastically.
In the current context, leaders must harness the power of abundance and growth mindsets to fully leverage the digital potential.
Abundance mindset is our ability to think and experience resourcefulness and free ourselves from self-imposed constraints. In the new world, thinking abundance with technology will bring expansion in all directions – our perception of the physical geographical boundary of the market, our understanding of the customer segment, the prospect base, the sales funnel, the touchpoints, and conversion. Growth mindset will further challenge the existing limiting beliefs; experimenting with digital solutions that will survive in the new order.
Agility: Thanks to COVID many stable and established organizations have unconsciously slipped into the startup culture – one that has a bias for quick action “whatever it takes”!
The market landscape is fast changing. Corporate leaders are now focused on competition more than ever before. Staying focused on the market and adapting quickly to the changes have become the order of the day.
There are huge demands on insightful and swift decision making.
The future is uncertain and these are unprecedented times with hardly any past reference data. Most decisions are based on judgment and gut feel rather than the conventional historical data and research.
Corporate leaders in the driver’s seat are finding the view from the windshield extremely opaque. They are required to watch out for the pits and road humps. This is the time when leaders have to watch the ground more minutely, connect more closely with the frontline and use razor-sharp sensors to gather intelligence and gauge the changes in the market.
This is also the time when collective wisdom outscores pockets of individual brilliance. Ironically while leaders are geographically separated and socially distanced yet they need to be closely networked, strongly integrated and perfectly aligned on the way forward. Cross-functional task forces and project teams will have to work at their collaborative best to ensure speedy execution.
Sure with leaders learning & adapting quickly, most organizations will come out swifter, smarter, leaner and more importantly nimbler AC (AFTER COVID).
Resilience: Self-efficacy and mindfulness alone will bring in high resilience to endure the onslaught, survive the crisis and bounce back quickly!
Self-efficacy is your personal judgment that you can cope with the situation based on your core values and beliefs. It is the conviction in one’s self, a strong survival instinct backed by the spirit to fight back. Low efficacy will lead to passive coping; High efficacy will trigger the effort to reach out, seek social support and drive towards problem-solving.
Mindfulness will enable you to step back, detach from the situation, not get emotionally entrenched in the here & now and think what can be done.
Leaders with self-efficacy and mindfulness will stay calm, size up the situation, accept the realities and remain focused on what they can control. It is also essential to build positive social relationships with peers/ competitors. One must readily ask for help as you are not alone in this battle.
This is also a time when many organizations task their leadership think tank to find a new purpose. The renewed purpose helps to engage emotionally with the troops on the ground and provides a cohesive sense of direction for the whole organization.
Empathy: Strike the right balance between logic and emotions with compassionate empathy!
The constraints imposed by COVID are posing huge dilemmas for leadership. There is immense pressure for cost optimization and leadership decision making is under acid test. Torn between the head and the heart, leaders need a lot of topping of EMPATHY to communicate their decisions. Lack of empathy can lead to blind clinical execution of cost reduction decisions which can erode the employer brand for years to come.
The caution here is that overdosage of empathy can sometimes get leaders overwhelmed, burned out or even get stifled from always thinking about other people's emotions. Leaders need to remain in control of their own emotions and apply reason to the situation before taking action.
Corporates with compassionate empathetic leaders will find themselves making a difference in the manner/ style in which employees are made to appreciate and understand the compelling circumstances.
In summary, leaders would do well to leverage COVID as an inflection point, ride the wave of change and transform the way business is done. The blended and judicious mix of Digital mindset, Agility, Resilience and Empathy would hold leaders in good stead as we pass through this challenging phase.