Creating Change During Financial Downturns

Whether your business is booming or going through a rough patch, just having the word “recession” bandied about can cause angst for your employees. Because the economy is a never-ending cycle of ups and downs – particularly right now – it’s important to equip your leaders and your people to better navigate rapid change and shifting strategies to keep engagement high and performance steady. Because if your people’s engagement levels drop, that rough patch can turn into a serious road rash for your organization.

Threatening Economic Times – Insights for Keeping Your People Engaged

What can you do while the financial and economic gurus do their thing? Try this: double down on engaging your people in your strategic priorities so your business can adjust with the market.

Now more than ever you should ensure that everyone in the business – literally everyone – understands:

  • The Current State Realities. While you don’t want to alarm people, you do want to be candid about the forces affecting market fluctuations and the actions each person can take to weather this short- or long-term storm. People make better business decisions when they understand the realities.
  • The Data. Good things tend to happen when leaders share the same data and information that they have. By giving your people the same information you have, they’ll come to the same conclusions and more readily adopt the new actions and behaviors you’ve asked of them.
  • The Sense of Urgency. The faster an organization adjusts to change, the greater the likelihood of staying ahead of the competition. To support that, you must be clear on business priorities. Identify the two or three things that will enable your business to positively affect results.
  • That Leaders Are Aligned. You’ll obviously have a more difficult time staying ahead if your leaders aren’t all rowing in the same direction. While this should always be the case regardless of whether the economy is stellar, it’s easier to mask the lack of alignment when financials are good.

Below is a short activity you can do with your leaders or your team to see how well you’re creating the right mindsets in your organization to successfully navigate uncertain times.

Mindset Mountain

Everyone agrees that economic downturns can cause distress, and mindset has a lot to do with how successful organizations overcome adversity and achieve future outcomes. Let’s talk about it.

  1. The man’s head represents a company. Look at the left side of his head first. Describe the images and read the signs.
  2. Do these behaviors remind you of anything happening at our company? What do you think is the mindset of each person at the edge of Hopeless Gulch?
  3. Now look at the right side of the sketch. The people are climbing the same mountain, but with a different mindset. Describe each image on Engagement Terrace.
  4. Have we seen any behaviors at our company that remind you of these people?
  5. What are the people on the stairs at the lower right doing? Why is this important?
  6. To get to Payoff Peak, the teams must pass through the Cloud of Turbulent Times. How does mindset make a difference when companies have to go through that cloud?
  7. What are some ways to get our people on the right side of the sketch instead of the left?
  8. What will it take to get us to the top of Payoff Peak?
  9. When we get there, what different things will we have to celebrate?

October 24, 2019

More deeply rooted thinking

Developing Leaders and Managers


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