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Leading the Way Back to Business With Intention

June 4, 2020

With the full impact of the crisis yet to be determined, PSI is now focused on strategies to select, manage, and develop the talent you need today to be ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Click here to learn more about how we can help you get back to business better.

There is little doubt that the past few months have tested our ability to adapt to the new and unpredictable while trying to learn to navigate as we go. Life, as we knew it, was paused and we are just now slowly beginning to step back into the world that we stepped away from. This world is now different from the collective experience of recent times, providing us with an opportunity to change for the better. We can now begin to look forward, think about what’s next, and intentionally set the stage for recovery and opportunity.

Watch my video introduction on this topic here.

iStock-1217480771Effective leadership, critical in times of crisis, will continue to prove invaluable in determining how quickly organizations and employees can adapt to new work requirements, settings, and expectations. And the faster your leaders can adapt, the more likely your business will thrive in a rapidly changed and changing worldWith the recovery comes a unique opportunity to reset and re-imagine leadership roles, redefine purpose, and reinvent best practice. A unique opportunity to get back to business better. So how do we begin to do that? 

Below are some tips on taking that first step: 

Appreciate the Pause

Rushing back to what previously existed is not the only, or even the best, choice. Successfully adapting to the new context and world of work requires reflecting on lessons learned and understanding personal strengths and limitationsIt can even include taking note of unexpected or previously untested competencies and newly discovered talents and/or best practices. Question your assumptions about leadership. Use the pause between crisis and recovery to reflect on what "better leadership" means. 

Anticipate What’s Next   

Entire industries have been turned upside down and the very nature of work has fundamentally changed. Strategic plans are likely outdated, and employees’ expectations may have shifted in dramatic ways. Consider how work has changed; take stock of new business models, modified work procedures, new employee expectations, and changing customer needs and then identify the leadership competencies needed for success in the new context. Look to develop or enhance those competencies in your leadership team now before the need becomes more immediate. 

Value What Works   

There are certain core qualities of leadership that have always been important and will remain so even in a changed business world – qualities like integrity, decisiveness, problem solving, strategic thinking, and interpersonal connection. There are also, however, new behaviors and competencies that will differentiate the leaders of the future from leaders of the past – competencies like resilience, learning agility, collaboration, innovation, openness, and courage. Help your leaders prepare for the shift.  Identify best practices and set new expectations. 

Effective leadership has always required an awareness of context and a breadth of skills. Leaders must be able to thrive in chaos and disruption not just in stability and order. It is a complex role in a dynamic and ever-changing world. As we continue, it will be more important than ever to let go of old habits and proven routines and to explore new ways of doing things to better meet the context. Back to normal is not the only choice we have and may, in fact, not even be possible. We have a unique opportunity to intentionally change and to lead the way. 

Developing strong leadership is critical and yet, just one of three key pillars of talent management and recovery. Our next few blogs will explore other strategies key to effective talent management now, through recovery, and beyond. Next up is your hiring and talent strategy and how to ensure it meets the challenges of market shifts and record unemployment rates. Finally, we will explore team-based support initiatives critical to helping your employees effectively adjust and adapt to the new work environment. 

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Susan Stang, Ph.D. Susan Stang, Ph.D. is Vice President of Consulting Solutions. In her role, Susan oversees PSI’s consulting activities across a variety of contexts including leadership services, public safety, government and analytics, and corporate assessment solutions.