The Evolving Leadership Challenge

Patrick Woods, Apr 15, 2020 11:59:41 AM

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed one word and a single expression into current conversational
prominence. The regularity with which “unprecedented” has been used is indeed truly deserved.
Less so perhaps “the new normal” if only because it implies the emergence of an unlikely singular,
clear and fixed outcome.

If ever leaders were required to think strategically, it is now. Having guided organisations through
the crisis thus far, with all its impacts on how their people are having to work, attention will be
switching to the need to begin planning for emerging successfully from the global pandemic. There
will be key issues to consider, both of a short- and long-term nature.

An important short-term issue will be preparing at least some people for a return “to the office”, so
to speak, and consequently away from homeworking. How successfully, or otherwise, this is handled
will have a significant impact on how businesses will recover from this crisis.

Some of the longer-term complicated questions that require answering will be.

• Did our organisation demonstrate sufficient resilience during the crisis?
• Was our business as well prepared as it could have been?
• Was I as a leader, as well prepared as I should have been?
• Has there been too much focus on operational efficiency ahead to the crisis that left the
business short of the reserves required to manage such a shock?
• How robust were our supplier relationships?
• What lessons can be learned what should be carried forward into future business planning.

In particular, can we improve upon our future scenario testing?

Whilst these may be longer-term issues to consider, leaders are faced right now with the
requirement to prepare their organisations for the environment they are most likely to emerge into.

Whilst always a challenging task, it is clear that an unusually broad range of outcomes is currently
possible. Therefore, it will be vitally important to devote time and resource to future scenario
testing.

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