I am a member of a management consultancy focused on the financial industry. I enjoy what I do.
It certainly has been an interesting few months, during which I have had many conversations with clients, prospects and peers. In addition, I have participated in quite a few webinars, some internal others external, and all of them fascinating because of the insights I have drawn from them. There are a few I have picked up recently that I find especially thought provoking.
• Command and control versus flexibility and creativity
In a crisis environment, it is important that everyone understands their role and how it fits within the overall organisational goal. Once this has been established, individuals should then be given the flexibility to use their creativity to succeed. Leaders need to create and maintain structure, but equally importantly, have faith in the capabilities of their teams.
• Avoid analysis paralysis
If you wait to have all relevant information before making a decision, you will never take one.
• Continuously communicate
Make sure communication on issues key to the business is regular and that it flows. Without continuous, clear guidance your people will draw their own conclusions.
• Commitment to mission and beliefs as opposed to enslavement by processes and procedures
In a highly uncertain environment, not all existing processes and procedures may be appropriate. In some cases, they could potentially cause harm by slowing down decision making. In a crisis it may make sense to relax or even suspend some existing rules whilst remaining committed to the organisations vision and direction.
• Crisis versus BAU planning
Consider the merits of establishing a crisis planning team. Keep this distinct from those responsible for business-as-usual and populate it with diverse critical thinkers from across your business. Sometimes in a crisis, new organisational heroes emerge, so leaders should provide the space for them to come forward. This crisis planning team could also include individuals from outside your business to act as “critical friends” responsible for challenging assumptions considered key to organisational success.
• Establish an information cell
Led by the chief risk officer, the role of this unit would be to transform data into information relevant for the business, continually developing and adjusting future scenarios that management can use to test the effectiveness of its actions.