If there is one thing consistent about business, it’s the inconsistent dynamics of the environment.
Who would have imagined even just a few months ago that large parts of the world would have severe travel restrictions, gatherings would be cancelled, entire cities and regions would be under lockdown and global supply chains would be significantly impacted.
Bristol Institute of Business Management, providing masters and undergraduate programmes in affiliation with the University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol), ranked 28th in the UK, had its Chief Operating Officer M.J.M. Dilshad providing a coronavirus survival kit for business leaders to turn tough times into big wins, keeping in mind that organisational success depends on teams that will pull through.
Dilshad stated, “Given the set of circumstances faced with the coronavirus outbreak, some leaders will create success in their businesses whilst others will fail, if they don’t respond. Great leaders know how to navigate turbulent business climates just as well as they can sail a calm sea of activity.
They will use frenetic circumstances to capitalise and strip away competition. Success or failure during times of peril depends on the ability to get your team moving with strength and confidence by carefully assessing the situation and working with the team to clearly set the appropriate priorities and help the team focus on moving forward.”
He said that enacting such leadership involves several important dimensions.
Adapt: In a high-risk, high-stake and highly insecure environment, agility and adaptability will be essential. Being able to adapt your leadership style to changing environmental dynamics is key to being a successful leader. The leader’s role in such a case should be one of stability, awareness and responsiveness. First visualise just how tough the situation is and use all the data, insights, predictions and credible inputs available to understand the reality and make an assessment. While inputs can and should come from experts, the leader is the one who must make the final assessment.
Look outward: The natural instinct during hard times is to recede inwards. Yet, looking outward attracts better inputs and enables wiser decisions. Leaders need to stay alert to market conditions, competitor behaviour, customer needs, support innovation and intrapreneurial activity, visibly and enthusiastically. Consider what value-creating opportunities are generated by turbulence itself, such as weaker competitors, new market creation, products or services that maybe created as a consequence of turbulence. Once an assessment is made, early action with humility and flexibility to pivot or change some or all elements if need to be, is the hallmark of a responsive leader.
Be resilient: Responsive leaders exercise resilience in turbulent situations. To stop surviving and start growing as an organisation, a leader needs to focus on some key priorities: paving the way forward, building diverse teams to weather the storm, inspiring and motivating people and developing sustainable internal capabilities. Build resilience throughout the organisation by putting the right people in the right places and stretching them just enough to get them out of their comfort zone to do what they thought was impossi ble.
Empower others: Work with individual team members to help them perform at their personal best. Empower employees to address key business challenges, implement the strategy shift and become change agents throughout the organisation. For an organisation to thrive in difficult times, decisions must be made at the right level and not necessarily the highest level.
Enable remote working: Design easy-to-use platforms for employees to optimise their workflows autonomously with minimum dependency on the IT division. Invite employees at all levels to share their ideas, creations and optimisations to be used across the organisation, to ensure that collaboration will mean empowerment instead of disengagement.
Maintain momentum: A common reaction to economic instability is to cut budgets and postpone planned initiatives. However, whilst agility and responsiveness to market fluctuations are essential, it is equally important to maintain the momentum of core activities to protect the organisation’s long-term growth. Smart companies led by great leaders will continue to invest carefully despite turbulence and find the equilibrium between performance, capability and results.
Dilshad is passionate towards empowering individuals to reach their potential and contribute to organisational and national success.