4 Things Big Business Can Teach You About Leading In Crisis
Navigating these times can teach us a lot about how to make the most of a crisis. We often hear more about leaning into the good - but what if we’re missing the good in the upheaval? With this “pandemic pivot”, we have so much opportunity to get things right and to look beyond the current crisis for the creative opportunities for the future. So let’s talk about that and how leadership matters more in times of crisis.
I had an amazing opportunity to sit down and chat with Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot. Among other things, we talked about how HubSpot is navigating these pandemic-era times and what matters the most about how we are doing business right now. When COVID-19 hit, the leadership at HubSpot decided that they would act fast and aggressively on behalf of their employees, partners and customers - and they were transparent about those plans every step of the way.
While Brian admits that it wasn’t a perfect system, he calls this a defining moment for the entire business. Having strong leadership at the top, willing to make the tough decisions while being finely tuned into the “right” thing to do, made all the difference for how well they’ve navigated and fared this global pandemic. “The key for each of us at HubSpot, our partners and customers was to bend, not break. This was (and continues to be) our theme through COVID.” -Brian Halligan
This conversation really got my wheels turning - a little bit of inspired thinking - on what we can actually learn and how we can actually use it. What are the tangible lessons here and why are they important?
4 Things Big Business Can Teach You About Thriving In Crisis
- Resilience and Leadership matters more. If you want a resilient organization, the people at the top have to be resilient also - and what that really means is that they are able to handle stress in a way that’s productive. They are also able to handle a lot of uncertainty and pass down very transparent, clear, spin-free clarity to its employees, partners and customers. That’s the key around resilience. Resilience and Leadership matters more in times of crisis than times of calm.
- Pivot by Design. It’s a lot harder to make changes when things are going well. It’s easy to be stagnant and even complacent when things are going well. Yet, when pivots are then forced upon us (pivots by default), it’s easy to fall into chaos because we’re avoiding the change instead of initiating it. Self-disruption is necessary. If we aren’t pivoting intentionally and by design, we aren’t expanding.
- Stepping back to step forward. If you want to build a sustainable business that’s around for awhile, you may have to take one step back so you can take three steps forward. If your business has always taken one step forward and never taken that step back to fix the dent in your product, your organization or your decision making - for example - it’s going to be hard to scale over the long haul.
- Never Waste A Good Crisis. A lot of people - especially in business - were not prepared for this pandemic and they feel slighted, as if it’s unfair. One thing we know about the very nature of change is that it is meant to disrupt. But I want to challenge this mindset of disruption as being negative and instead challenge you to apply something Brian and I discussed- which is to use crisis as a means to accelerate forward. A lot of businesses are being forced to move online, to utilize smart technology we’ve had for quite some time- they’re being pushed into new sales techniques and relying more on data to find unique ways to connect with customers. This crisis is moving the future forward and when we look at it through this lens, we can see how impactful and important these pivots really are.
One Final Component
When we talk about what it takes for a business to be resilient and to thrive in times of crisis, the last component is taking responsibility and developing resilience BEFORE you need it. We’re all responsible for our own lives. I don’t think you can be there for anybody else if you’re not there for yourself to begin with. Like the old airline analogy about the mask dropping out of the ceiling - they tell you to put it on your own face first for a reason. One way we can take responsibility is by consciously creating rituals that ultimately become our healthy habits - and these habits dictate how and what we produce mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually.
And the best time to build up your resilience starts now.
- By Adam Markel, author of The I Love My Life Challenge
I Love My Life 5-Day Challenge
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