By Sarah Mawji
Entering a new year and being knee-deep into the pandemic has spurred new challenges for business leaders. The temporary mental toughness which acted as a band-aid in the first few months, or year, has been peeled off and reality or the “new normal” has more than just set in.
Previous business priorities, especially for high-growth companies which included: fostering innovation, driving revenue, and gaining market share may have slightly changed, and while they continue to remain crucial priorities – maintaining liquidity, controlling costs, and stabilizing employee morale are now equally as important.
The playbook’s been re-written without any real consensus or time consideration, yet the rules of yesterday no longer apply to a pandemic-driven world.
Here are 3 adoptable behaviors for leaders who want to succeed in 2021:
1. DEFINE PRIORITIES
It’s the start of a new year which means now is the best time as ever to define new priorities and re-define pre-existing ones.
As mentioned above, yesterday’s playbook no longer holds the weight it once held. It’s time to re-define priorities and determine the activities that are essential for the sake of steady business continuity.
For leaders in high-growth companies, reflect and ask, what are the core operational duties of your team and what is no longer a priority? The best way to determine priorities is to start backward. For example, if your company goal is to hit a target revenue, be acquired or sold, if you were to re-define your priorities what activities would hurt the company if you removed them from the list?
2. STRENGTHEN THE FRONT LINES
Once the business priorities have been defined, it’s time to embrace your front line. These key individuals will be your aid and support in carefully executing a new plan of action. Operational challenges, unexpected roadblocks, and a steep learning curve are on the horizon but the key takeaway here is to expect them and face them with your team head-on.
“The goal of an effective leader is to recondition your team to be solution-focused, rather than problem-focused,” says Mark J. Pinto, President at Harbourfront Wealth Management. “Such leaders improvise and adapt to uncover opportunities in the midst of a challenging environment.”
The best possible outcomes will result from a team equipped to problem-solve and critically think through issues that may arise. Thus, encourage inter-departmental collaboration where possible and navigate challenges with your team.
3. ADAPT BOLDLY
The mental agility of leaders is always being tested, but now more so than ever before.
The best way to overcome cognitive overload and manage pressure to be “all-knowing” is openness. Openly seeking input, admitting what you don’t know and consulting with individuals whom you trust are ways to regulate the emotional pressure that comes with the expectations of being a leader. The best business practices during this pandemic are not to sustain rigid and outdated techniques that no longer serve the current environment. Therefore, ensure scope of work and working parameters are fluid so the company can also embrace an agile mindset, in other words – be adaptable.
The key is not survival, but growth and growth comes from accepting change and uncertainty.
These behaviours can help leaders succeed in all types of situations, including in a post-pandemic world where the environment will change once again.
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