When You Have No Roadmap, Use Your Head and Heart

05.06.2020

By: Siobhan Smith, Co-President of Catapult

There is no roadmap of getting through these unprecedented times for any of us, particularly CEOs. COVID 19 offered a moment of truth and as an Executive Consultant, I have the honor of witnessing the actions of those who are standing out.

What I have learned what is mattering the most has been demonstrated by a coaching client who is CEO of an essential business in Europe, headquartered in Milan, Italy. Italy was one of the first hit with the COVID 19 crisis and it was entirely unexpected. His response was a demonstration of true leadership—head and heart.

His head immediately responded by:

-Creating a leadership task force to combat the changes that were approaching head on. His leadership team had to consider safety of the employees going to work AND the employees who suddenly had to work from home. They worked hard to get the resources, support, and protective equipment needed for everyone.

-Focusing on the supply chain by reconfiguring raw materials, logistics throughout Europe, and customers both current and new.

-Obtaining relevant intel from the industry and government to stay ahead of ever-changing news.

-Identifying the top priorities during this crisis.

-Preparing for the 2nd phase. Thinking and planning for the next stage of this new normal.

His heart also knew exactly what to do:

-Acting exceedingly human by reaching out to all employees and over-communicating what is important while repeating why the company is essential.

-Balancing and managing uncertainty while listening / anticipating people’s feelings and reactions AND responding.

-Empowering his team to be creative and act.

-Being available to his entire team by responding to all calls and emails.

-Sharing and modeling the organization’s values in every communication.


Paying it forward is what this leader does naturally. He shared his COVID 19 plan with his counterparts in North America and they were all better prepared with his playbook.

Today, he continues to focus on stimulating the entire workforce to think and learn from the specific conditions of today to better plan, change, and shape tomorrow’s future.

A true leader in a crisis and a true leader always.

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