In current times of significant change, complexity, and uncertainty, business leaders are challenged to adapt and orient themselves to the tide of internal and external changes to create the best positive outcome for their organizations. Uncertainty is a part of risk management that most leaders consider normal. Previously unimaginable shifts in our daily lives are compelling firms to adopt new processes and identify innovative, unconventional ways to work and grow. Worldwide incidents make it more demanding for leaders to find their ground—and those who like to work from a place of clarity are finding it difficult in this global storm. This unpredictability poses the question – how can you lead decisively when you don’t know what’s next?
Most leaders are facing the question: How do we move forward in such uniquely uncertain times? Decisive and effective leadership helps us steer through crises, reconstruct communities, and move ahead in moments of chaos. But with so many challenges coming up at once, many leaders struggle to chart a way forward.
Why is it important to be decisive?
Good leaders learn and hone their skill of decision-making over a period of time. It might come naturally to some, but most leaders need to develop this skill. For business leaders, it is essential to make sense of chaotic conditions and take business decisions to enable their organization to grow and move forward. Leaders should look at any problem from three perspectives to respond effectively:
1. Clarify the purpose:
The first step is to clarify and distill your purpose. In moments of crisis, most businesses tend often hunker down and focus on bottom-line fundamentals and metrics. Instead of narrowing the focus, leaders should pull back and remind themselves of their vision and mission. Highlighting the purpose will also signal your intentions to the broader world, infusing trust and goodwill among stakeholders who share your principles. In times of uncertainty, employees, consumers, and investors gravitate toward organizations whose vision resonates with their beliefs.
2. How will the decision support the stakeholders?
The second step is to consider the effects of your decisions on your stakeholders and how to minimize any adverse impact. That means knowing who your stakeholders are—from consumers and investors to workers, communities, and society in general. You need to identify what they require and how you can best serve their needs. It could mean deciding to potentially redesign the supply chains to support local employment or adopt a hybrid work model and many such long-term and short-term decisions. Decisions, when taken considering the stakeholders, allow you to strengthen the resiliency of the organization.
3. Will the decision help bolster organizational resilience?
The third step is to improve your organizational resilience. Empowering leaders with the right character and disposition is critical for effective and swift decision-making—those who are firm but fair and are willing to make unpopular calls. When the right teams are empowered, they can help leaders to take critical decisions and lead the organization to growth.
The ability to understand our core values, recognize our duties and our possibilities, and chart a path founded on our most fundamental goals while sustaining our organizational resilience—these are skills that will strengthen us in the coming decades. Each step involves tough choices, even in good times, let alone in uncertain ones, but they will make us more robust over time and help us face any challenges along the way. As we steer through an uncharted road today, our approach to this moment will matter how we lead tomorrow.