By: Vicki Peek, Executive Vice President
When there is news of a potential shift or downturn in the economy, people are often unsure of what to do or how to react. But, as leaders of a company, when outlooks become uncertain, putting a plan in place that is forward looking based upon what is in your control, gives certainty, and focuses on opportunity and growth, is critical to success.
I am breaking down 3 tips for leaders to consider when times of uncertainty are on the horizon.
1. Plan ahead.
There are many ways to approach a potential shift in the market – as leaders, it is important to think ahead, focus on what is in your control, and be prepared. Stay informed and don’t wait until things change to think about what to do. Meet as a leadership team to create a “playbook” to use when things begin to shift. Dedicate the time to thinking about what the market shift will mean for your business and how you can adapt. Consider growth strategies and risk mitigation within high impact areas such as people and culture, go-to-market strategies, technology, online resources, cash, sales, marketing, and communication.
A plan creates alignment and direction, prioritizes your greatest asset—people, targets customer growth and retention, ensures financial sustainability and return, amplifies a growth focus, and optimizes operations to prepare for accelerated growth coming out of a downturn.
2. Communicate clearly.
Uncertainty is often magnified by the “noise” of headlines, opinions, and assumptions. Communication is critical! It is important that leaders communicate reality vs. “noise.” Clear and open communication keeps employees, customers, and stakeholders informed and shapes the narrative – stay out in front of communication. Leaders need to ease the minds of their audience by communicating that they are prepared and have a plan in place that is ready to be implemented when needed.
In times of uncertainty, communication should be clear, consistent, frequent, and intentional.
3. Lead by example.
Lastly, but most importantly, remember, leaders set the tone! Employees look to leaders—if leaders are nervous and panicking, employees will be more nervous. Remain calm, stay positive, be agile, demonstrate care, and lead with confidence.
Employee engagement and focus are critical to the organization’s resiliency in times of uncertainty. Leaders have an increased opportunity to build deeper relationships with employees and demonstrate effective leadership traits particularly during times of uncertainty.
When there is a market shift and uncertainty, leaders can look at things through a lens of fear or opportunity. “Lean in” to what is ahead and consider this as one of the best times for individual, team, and organizational growth!
This process isn’t always easy – if you need assistance with navigating uncertainty as leaders, contact FGP! From building a playbook, designing and implementing a communication plan, leadership coaching and development to outplacement services, our team is here to help.