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Part 3: Seeing the Bigger Picture – Applying Resilience as a Leader During Challenging Times

Maintaining perspective

Holding on to perspective at times of crisis is an essential characteristic of good leadership – but it’s not always easy. What really helps here is to gain as broad an understanding of the situation as possible and then pinpoint what aspects of it you can influence. Once you have identified the options open to you, you can begin to make choices.

 

One small step at a time

As leaders, we are usually primed and ready to move forward to this ‘planning state of mind’, but challenging situations (like our current one) can cause us to struggle when taking that first step. We see others moving ahead with speed and energy, and we ask ourselves: ‘Why am I
getting stuck?’

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that moving forward is far easier when you take small steps to begin with. Writing down your concerns and reaching out to trusted advisers are key tools in this process. Shifting your mindset towards the opportunities – no matter how small – can send you down entirely new, and fruitful, pathways.

 

Planning ahead

When you feel ready, put together an outline of things you can do, things you can control. This is a wonderful starting point in itself – the start of
a plan!

We all know that planning for the unexpected is central to business management. But I’m not referring to contingency exercises here, which no doubt you have already kicked off within your team. Instead, I’m thinking more about the ‘next stage’ of growth that deals with where your business is going in the longer term. Making room to carefully figure this out is important, and while there’s no space for knee-jerk reactions in situations like these, unfortunately, time is not on our side at the moment.

But don’t throw in the towel just yet. A considered approach using simple frameworks can be very beneficial to get the process under way. Like anything else, once you actually start writing things down, ideas form and then it just becomes a matter of prioritising tasks and devising phases. You’ll be surprised at how well your resilience will get you through this initial stumbling block.

 

The power of 90 days

As I mentioned above, taking smaller, more manageable steps allows us to move forward more easily.

Enda McNulty delivered a great webinar recently where he spoke about the value of devising a 90-day plan. This really struck a chord with me. 90 days, or three months, offer an ideal period of time to plan ahead. It feels more productive than looking at two or three weeks down the line, and it is much simpler to visualise than six months! In fact, it’s just the right amount of time to put a shape on critical elements of your business.

In my conversations with clients and colleagues over the last few days, I found that the idea of a 90-day plan resonated with them too. So, I’ve put together a ‘90-Day Plan Aide-Memoire’ to help my clients get started. My aim is to provoke thought and assist leaders in writing a plan at this difficult time. I’m sharing it with you here, as you might find it useful too.

 

Leading the way

Before you begin writing your plan, do keep a few things in mind.

Lead yourself first
To lead a team effectively, you have to know where you are headed yourself. We are all entitled to our own personal trajectory of ambition. Think about how the next 90 days can influence your growth, and reflect on these considerations:

– What do you want to achieve?
– How do you want your team to remember your leadership approach during this time?
– What words will they use to describe your efforts?

Lead others next
Once you have a clearer sense of your own direction, share some thoughts with your team on how you see their growth potential over the coming weeks. With you at the helm, your team can focus on:

– Supporting each other more.
– Greater collaboration.
– Generating new and creative ideas, and bringing them to your clients.
– Reaching out in the face of adversity, instead of standing back.

And a few key pointers
1. Always remember the bigger picture – maintain perspective and keep a level head.
2. Turn adversity into opportunity – make the best of every given situation.
3. Demonstrate empathy – but don’t compromise your ability to make tough decisions.

Valerie O’Keeffe is CEO of ClarityVP Consulting. For many years, she has helped leaders and teams to maximise their strengths and achieve significant results. With a former career in finance, Valerie uses her leadership experience and background in behavioural psychology to work with clients across a broad range of sectors.

ClarityVP Consulting,
15 Herbert Place,
Dublin 2.

Telephone: (01) 443 3688
Mobile: 087 225 9053
Email: valerie@clarityvp.ie
www.clarityvp.ie