Dear CEO - You've Got This

05.01.2020

By: John Koelmel, Sr. Advisor of Catapult

As businesses start to pivot from survival to “what’s next”, CEO’s will have a unique opportunity to differentiate and distinguish their organizations and themselves. How do you ensure you, your business and your team are among the winners that will thrive in our new reality? What do you need to do as CEO to thread the needle of opportunity?

Strategic Sharpening – you won’t be the same business on the other side of this crisis. What you do, how you do it, who does it and more needs to change. And probably more than most think. It’s not a question of if you reinvent your business, but how.

Customer, Customer, Customer – while it’s always been about the customer, there is no option now but to think like them, understand their new issues and concerns as well as how their behaviors will change. Those companies that best anticipate and respond to changes in customers’ expectations and behaviors will win. And don’t let perfect be the enemy of good – make changes now.

Talent, Talent, Talent – it’s time to make the right decisions – as well as the hard calls – about your team.

Your best people have stood even taller during the crisis. Your real leaders have stepped further forward. Give them more responsibility. Invest in them now. Accelerate their growth and development. Position them for success.

Your underperformers have also further self-identified. Make the tough calls and ensure you have the right team moving forward. You will need to do more with less in the new normal. Make those difficult but necessary decisions now.

Alignment – having refined and refreshed your strategy as well as adjusted your roster, it’s now all about execution. Ensure your best people are aligned with your best market opportunities. Reorganize both your business model and leadership team now so that you will be an early mover in your space.

Leadership – while styles will vary, this is a time for clarity, confidence and courage. The future is uncertain. We haven’t been here before. There is no playbook to follow. So, what do you do? LEAD! Be strong and assertive with your vison and plan. Be bold and enthusiastic. Make it clear to your team and all of your constituents that “you’ve got this”.

Culture – this crisis has impacted every person in every business. Your organization’s culture is under duress. Don’t let it crack, let alone crash. Set a positive and inclusive tone. Communicate often. Stay connected. Make clear you care about your team and their well-being – and expect your leaders to do the same. This is an all hands-on deck moment. You won’t thrive otherwise.

Look through the windshield – whether you were well-prepared for this crisis or caught off-guard, your personal success will be measured by how you respond. Don’t look in the rear-view mirror and wonder what if or why now. Look straight ahead and keep your eyes on Recovery Road. Don’t be distracted by the noise around you. Be bold and decisive. Everyone in the car is counting on you.

This is the ultimate “Woman/Man in the Arena” moment. Those who seize the opportunity and thrive will be rewarded with the tremendous satisfaction and gratification of successfully leading their organization and team through the worst crisis of our lifetime. It’s an opportunity every CEO should embrace. Grab it and go. It’s your time to shine. You’ve got this!

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