The Leadership Spotlight… How to Shine!

May 4, 2020 – As Warren Buffett mused…’we’ll see who comes out of the water with their swimsuit on.’

Let’s start by viewing leadership via a very different aperture.

With the current swan, the world as we knew it has changed. It is moving and gyrating into uncertainties and at a velocity we have never seen, and all together new challenges for virtually every leader. Traditional ways are being challenged. Yet, as always, leaders remain the bellwethers and beacons of moving forward. Through these dark clouds, there are silver linings which surely present opportunities.

Lessons Learned
Crises are events which pass overtime leaving us to forge the new and next.

This black swan taught us one important lesson, the value of adaptability. Leader successes will depend on the ability to pivot strategies, resources, teams and organizations with speed, and at times even reversing course. In fact, leadership adaptability will be THE key executive competency that will be demanded by forward thinking boards and their CEOs.

Furthermore, as if we needed reminding, this storm taught us there is no latitude for leaders who are not up to this challenge, nor patience for ones that sanitize or politicize situations in arriving at critical decisions…whether dealing with black swans or not.

Beyond a leader’s immediate responsibility to balance working through the grind of the storm and being sensitive to and openly communicating with a broad range of stakeholders to reduce their current fear and anxiety, they cannot lose sight of the necessary elements of resilience… preparing for continuity as the storm abates and adjusting into the new normal however it evolves with very different nuances and cues.

Judging Leadership
Stakeholders, including shareholders, are keeping scorecards on how effectively leaders and their companies pivot and power forward. For sure, they will expect a full recovery, if not an enhancement, of market capitalization and social responsibility. Nothing less will be acceptable.

Having battle tested executives at the ready is essential.

Here’s our advice:

1. Be Optimistic…Set the Standard & Don’t Compromise
Be candid and fully transparent about expectations
Evaluate how effective each of your inner circle executive leaders acted under pressure
Truly, are your executives geared to outcomes… resilient with the insights, grit, and determination to act, not just talk?
With nowhere to hide, the weakest links in the executive team will become apparent
2. Continually Assess and Prepare for Continuing Uncertainty
Ascertain the qualities that your leaders must possess to cope effectively with unknowns and future swans
Are they equipped, disciplined, and prepared to bend the curve?
3. Strengthen the Elasticity of Your Leadership and Top Grade… NOW
Having battle tested your executives, carefully and purposely identify leadership holes
Don’t delay on upgrading your executive team
Commit to rectify
4. Don’t Get Caught Without Your Swimsuit!
Prepare for unknown
Don’t accept the tried and true as gospel
Continually seek perspective, from the outside in and inside out
Probe, question, debate, and test as a leadership cultural norm

As your organization needs to recruit Winning Now executives / board directors, develop succession plans, or review executive / board effectiveness, we are well positioned and experienced to advise. We look forward to partnering with you.

Jeff Neppl

Share This Article