I've talked with dozens of Chiefs over the last month and the overwhelming sentiment is one of uncertainty and concern. But there is something else I've noticed too…the great Chiefs among them have a different mindset.
Except for the toilet paper brands (who are rolling in it), all executives right now are battling to understand what will happen and how they will navigate this period and survive.
But be careful though. It is very easy in times like this to be drawn into a costly FEAR mode.
Instead, follow the lead of the true Chiefs I've spoken with and switch to OPPORTUNITY mode.
First of all, let’s talk about fear mode. Fear, panic, anxiety. Call it what you like. The single defining trait is that your reptilian brain is in control and giving you flight or fight options. The decisions you make are short-term. Innovation and creativity go out the window. Relationships suffer. It's all about survival.
Be very careful. Every article you read will be dragging you into this mindset of fear. This is the inherent goal of the media so that you read more (they're certainly in opportunity mode).
Obviously you need to make moves to protect yourself and your family. But right now, and over the next 6-12 months, there will be avenues for growth either for yourself or the business/department you lead.
The first step is to reset yourself with the mindset of a true Chief.
Slow your breathing, widen your vision and shift your focus to mid-to-long term.
Remember, in times like these, CEOs and executives are shouldering enormous responsibility and they’re actively looking for those who can stand up and shine when times are tough.
Here are 5 powerful principles to help you respond like a Chief in a crisis:
1. RESET THE TEAM'S ENERGY:
Start bringing a C-Suite calmness and energy to the office and spread it around through your interactions and meetings. This will encourage others to build a better mindset, think more creatively and work as a unit.
2. SEEK COUNSEL FROM YOUR PEOPLE:
Often in times of crisis, your people know exactly the right moves to make in improving operations or engaging customers. Actively seek their counsel on the right moves and update them on how their ideas are being used.
3. REFOCUS YOUR TEAM'S ROLE TO ADD MAXIMUM VALUE:
Reconsider the role your company really needs from you and your team right now. Ask yourself, ‘How can I be more valuable to my boss, the company and my peers by re-deploying my people and team assets to the most important value-adding activity?'
In a crisis, silence is the breeding ground of myth and toxic energy. Communicate every day with your team about what's happening, what news you've got and what the business is planning to do in response.
5. COLLABORATE INTENSIVELY WITH PARTNERS:
In moments like these, isolation is a recipe for disaster. Engage in meaningful discussions with your business partners, suppliers and customers to help everyone through this period. Your business or team does not operate in isolation. It might be great for you to survive, but it will count for nothing if you get to the end and you've got no partners, or worse, no customers, left.
In a crisis, the best Chiefs on the planet communicate more, partner more, learn more and lead more. It’s a vitally important mindset to find a path to opportunity. It’s time to be bold and smart together.
In darkness, there is always the opportunity to shine a light.
If you can keep your head cool and clear in times like this, and lead your people to safety, it will be a career-defining period.
Stay epic (particularly in a crisis).