As many people across the country take some time today and this weekend to reflect and take inventory on where we are as a country and business leaders, there is a lot to think about. Everyone who has lived through the past 3 months has a perspective and points of view regarding the global pandemic, racial injustice, the geopolitical issues in every region of the world, and of course the business world which has shown tremendous resilience as evidenced by the strength of the equity markets.
This week, at the request of several clients, I began advanced research on a new digital business simulation to help leaders lead in the new business normal. Based on the research and some of the preliminary work we are creating, here are 3 even newer tips about leading in the new business normal. This content is written for leaders within business organizations who lead teams, work with peers across functions, and work for a couple of managers.
Revisit, restate, and confirm your value proposition to customers
Leaders are feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the new normal of working remotely or working in environments under strict health guidelines. Overwhelmed by new complexities of their jobs and overwhelmed by challenges they never thought would impact them. One of the most important insights I’ve gathered from leaders struggling through all this is that they and their teams have not focused enough on the value proposition their business offers to their customers. The tip here is that when things get complex and overwhelming, the best leaders go back to the most important reason why they are there; the value proposition being offered to customers. As a suggestion, hold a meeting and revisit the value proposition by conducting a SWOT analysis on the current state of the business. A good facilitated SWOT analysis can be energizing and refreshing. After a great discussion, revisit, restate, and confirm your value proposition to that everyone on your team knows exactly what it is, how it has evolved, and most importantly what they should be doing to support the execution of it.
Focus on the big tasks and priorities (and not the little things)
It may be counter-intuitive to leaders who love details, but transitioning into the new normal is accelerated by focusing on the big tasks and priorities that support the value proposition to customers. The ability to focus on the few big things provides clarity and motivation in addition to something to concentrate on. One of the big tips to share is that many successful leaders ask their direct reports to provide a list of their top big tasks and use the list for dialogue in their one-on-ones about the business.
Prioritize the big tasks to develop alignment
Alignment around strategy, goals, and execution becomes critically important in a disruption and evolution to a new normal. The tip here is that the best leaders are spending most of their time simply working every day on alignment. While that may sound easy, it is extremely difficult given the complexities of the ecosystem, personality styles of direct reports, and the volatility of competitors who are also trying to evolve or survive. Regular check-ins to talk about alignment can result in clearer direction and can overcome any confusion and potential business-based conflicts between people and functions.
In summary, things are only going to be harder and more complex. Great leadership is the ability to successfully execute strategy through people. By refocusing and understanding the value proposition to customers, the big things that must be accomplished, and prioritizing tasks to create alignment, you will be in the best position possible to achieve your objectives.