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Successfully leading a business through times of crisis and change

This news story was published on March 18, 2021.
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Companies should be ready to face obstacles and deal with changes daily. The ability to cope under pressure makes you stronger as a leader and strengthens the organization. You might not always know what the outcome will be, but by continuing to push forward with clarity and in collaboration with your team, you are more likely to be successful. Managed poorly, periods of upheaval can result in low staff morale, a fall in productivity and a downturn in your company’s performance. Therefore, however radical the shift happens to be, you and your managers must be equipped to handle it effectively.

Start by understanding the challenge 

Occasionally, a problem may feel familiar, but more often, you’ll be facing an issue for the first time. The process of dealing with it begins with understanding the nature of the change or challenge and what has caused it. Armed with this information, you can move on to deciding what action to take and begin formulating a plan. Your proposals should remain consistent with the company’s principles and overall vision. This ensures that the adjustments you make will eventually fit seamlessly with the working practices and culture of your business.

Be open and available to your team

The people who work for you will know that you don’t have all the answers right away, but acknowledging this helps to build their trust. Eventually, you will have to make decisions that will affect them, so keep everyone up to date as much as possible and inform them of significant developments. Let people know the direction things are headed with meetings or letters so that they don’t feel completely distracted with worries about job security and the company’s future.

Include investors in your updates

Aside from the team you have on-site, you should also ensure that investors, stakeholders and board members – if you have them – are aware of the situation. If you are relying on their support, then it’s crucial to convince these people that your proposals are sound. By preserving a healthy financial position at all times, you are ready to strike should the opportunity arise. As the CEO of First Brands Group, Patrick James Trico has kept the company in excellent financial health. This has enabled the automotive parts company to grow at an expediential rate, claiming an impressive share of the global market.

Delegate wherever possible

Being a visible leader and having the courage to stand out front is vital, but you cannot realize every change yourself. By trusting individuals with tasks, you give them a sense of responsibility and encourage them to take ownership of their role in the process. Once you have signed people up and let them know what you expect, be around to provide support and answer any queries they may have. You should also give a deadline for completion so that they have a goal to work towards and you can monitor their progress.

Prepare for the long-haul

You may have the most comprehensive plan for change, but this does not guarantee that events will unfold as you expect. You may need to be flexible in terms of the potential outcome and the length of time it will take to be finalized. Very few people enjoy the process of change, especially when they are settled in their role and feel comfortable. This goes for management and employees. If you are unable to convince them that you are prepared to persist for as long as necessary, you may find some of your best people leave to seek a more secure post. Avoid this becoming a trend by enabling people to see the end result as you do and persuading them to stay on course.

Remain optimistic yet practical  

Glossing over the problem will only make things worse, but this doesn’t mean that you have to be cynical in your communications with staff. Confirm that you are going through some tough times and that the business may struggle for a while. Your team knows that a crisis is going to have an impact. We’ve all read about the repercussions of data breaches, IT system failures and natural disasters, but if you try to stay positive about the future, then your team are likely to follow that lead. You can also remind people of what is available to them through their employee benefits package so that if they need to speak with a counsellor or a physician, they know that the help is there.

Consider the experience a learning curve 

Managing an organizational crisis and guiding a company through change are skills that tend to mature over years of experience. Even if you don’t feel ready for the task ahead, you can formulate a plan, set a can-do tone and remain visible in the workplace. Adopting this approach will prepare your company for the storm that’s coming and give you every chance of getting the best possible result.

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