“Asking the right questions is as important as answering them.”BENOIT MANDELBROT
Being a leader in regular times can be a challenge. Being a leader in a crisis can be a complicated challenge. Successful leadership in regular times is hard enough. Trying to figure out what to do during a global crisis is CRAZY!
The best approach to embrace the current situation is to do what is right and ensure you protect your family, friends, and yourself. It also means doing what is necessary to increase your professional efficiency through leadership. But I think the biggest challenge is how we approach the future. Things aren’t going to be the same.
I like what Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, said,
“The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.”
I believe he is right on. Questions will generate answers, and answers will generate our actions. I think most of us have some frustrations due to the situation; I know I have. You’ve probably have heard more angry voices in your head and in your ears than ever before. Again, I know I have.
To help reduce your frustrations and to be able to take the stance of a healthy and efficient leader, here are four questions to consider to outline the future.
What can I change?
Think back to all those things pre-COVID things you wished you could change or stop doing. Maybe you didn’t change them because you didn’t realize you wanted or needed to change. Maye you but didn’t have the commitment, courage, or energy to make it happen. Well, now’s the time. Normal is gone, Now is the perfect time to make new things happen!
You must figure out what needs to change and how to effectively make the change happen!
How would you approach a new role in these times?
It can be hard to transition into a new role. Old vehicles wouldn’t do well well in new air emission eras.
I spoke at conferences and events as part of my pre-COVID life. I haven’t spoken at a live event since February 2020. Everything now is virtual. I’ve had to learn to embrace the fact that you can’t walk through the audience and hug people and shake their hands. My daughter and her family moved to Athens, Greece. Since the beginning of February, my wife and I haven’t seen my son-in-law, daughter, or grandkids in person.
With COVID positives seeing a surge and mandatory quarantines coming back into play in place, I don’t know when speaking in person will come back or when I will be able to see my grandkids.
If you were launching as a speaker right now, how would you approach it? If you had family out of the country, how would you maintain strong relationships?
Once you know the answer to those questions, I think you will understand your new approach and succeed.
Existing leaders who think differently and embrace change will have a much better future than their counterparts.
Where does the real momentum lie?
Momentum is the product of the mass and the velocity of an object. Here is a more simpler definition; strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events. It might feel like you have no momentum anywhere, but that won’t be true for most people. (If it is true—the problems are much deeper than a global crisis.) All of us have some kind of momentum going on. Maybe it is different than before, but it is happening.
For example, you might be focused on getting people back in the offices because that’s where you feel you historically had momentum. The concern is, we focus so much on the past that we become fixated on trying to re-manufacture previous situations that we miss the opportunity to look at things differently. A good example is remote workers. Due to being forced to have people work from home, many organizations have found that remote workers are more productive, have a stronger moral, and seem to be a lot happier working from home. Sure, there are challenges, but remote workers can be just as productive or even more productive when given flexibility.
You probably have momentum somewhere. Figure it out. Study it. Determine why that momentum is growing and the benefits and how to maximize it’s potential.
If you want to exceed your goals, fuel what’s growing, not what’s declining.
If you choose to stay where you are, soon, you’re staring out the window watching the future pass you buy.
Can I sustain the pace?
I’m running into so many exhausted and frustrated leaders right now. Look, I’ve been there myself. Most leaders look to mental time off or vacation to reduce frustration and improve energy. I that approach will never give you enough time off to recover from the stress and frustration. I believe time off can revise your energy and reduce stress temporarily. Here is another example. I am a member of my organization’s COVID Sub-Committee. Our fundamental role is to assist our employees in dealing with COVID related issues. I recently took a few days off. When I returned back to the work environment, the stress and frustration beat me there. I believe we need to take time off and continue to build relationships with family and enjoy the life we have, but time off isn’t going to change your unsustainable pace.
You have to consider how you approach and react to each situation, whether temporary or drawn out. Making necessary mental and physical adjustments to create a sustainable pace is the solution!
I suggest we ask the question, “how can I create a sustainable pace?” In my personal approach to eliminate burnout, I make constant adjustments to achieve this phrase:
“lead today in a way that you will exceed tomorrow.”
Most leaders lead in a way that will make them struggle tomorrow. We all have to work more hours, which affects our diet, reduces our exercise time and our ability to build our relationships. However, our desire is to find a sustainable pace heading to successfully achieve your personal and professional goals during this crisis and beyond.
SO WHAT, NOW WHAT
Moving forward, ask yourself: what changes can I make to ensure I exceed expectations in this current crisis and beyond?
Your answers and resultant actions to these 5 questions are critical to your future success. We have to change, and we must maximize our momentum. Think about stopping a train and what effort it takes to get it moving again. The changes we make will determine our ability to lead others through this time of crisis and change.