At any point of time, and especially in times of turbulence, there are people, customers, prospects, employees, vendors and friends, that are at a level of concern and fear that you might not totally appreciate. In any time of turbulence, the fear of change and the loss of normalcy, at the very least causes grief. In times like these you need to be as compassionate as you are with friends who have lost a loved one. While the grief is not as intense, the loss of normalcy in economic turbulence causes a type of grief that can be like that with the death of a loved one.
I believe that the first decision you should make as a leader in a time of turbulence is to have compassion for the grief that others are feeling. From much experience I know first-hand, that those at an echelon like yours, and even Fortune 500 CEOs experience grief in these trying times. I’ve counseled dozens of high-level CEOs in turbulent times about the agonizing decisions they must make and implement. But there is a power you and they have that cannot be left on the table.
The power of reassuring words can do wonders, here is one real life example:
“You need to know that your jobs are secure, I am not going to lay you off in this turbulent time. I need you for the inevitable uptick, and in fact you and I are going to innovate like never before in this down time and we will hit the ground running when the inevitable comeback takes place as it always does.”
Nearly those exact words were recently shared by several of my clients. They weren’t initially realizing how powerful they would be, but when they finally said them out loud and in person and/or in video to their team, the impact was palpable. There were tears. The quality of the virtual meetings and innovation sessions with which I was involved afterwards took a leap to a new dimension of performance.
I call it innovation Jujitsu, it is the momentum of some amount of fear, grief and/or external uncertainty being redirected toward a vision of hope and change. It creates an energy that can be aimed toward devouring problems, challenges, and opportunities with an intrepidness like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Are you going to waste this opportunity of turbulence or are you going to seize it?
In the worst of times you learn who your friends are. You know this, your clients know this. Now the question is, are you ready to leverage this momentum to help those whom you most love to serve?
Reaching people in this time of turbulence is actually easier than ever. Several of my clients executed calling blitzes and even my CEO clients have made literally hundreds of calls in just a couple of days. They have been shocked at the great response to the personal touch and the simplest of questions.
Forget about all these sappy emails going out, “In the wake of…we want you to know that you are in our thoughts…” Come on! Pick up the phone, call your top 100 contacts and after finding out how they and their family are doing just ask a simple question:
“Is there anything I or we could do for you?”
Mark Faust works with CEOs and owners who have decided that healthy growth and innovation is what they want regardless of the economic environment. Since 1990, Mark has worked with over 300 companies and over 50 3rd generation family-owned businesses and helped them to grow and become much more profitable during the most turbulent of times. He is also a professional speaker, author and strategic growth coach to successful yet humble CEO’s. For a free copy of one of Mark’s books send an email to [email protected]