As businesses across the globe begin to ponder their choices for reopening in a post-COVID-19 world, people will be faced with choices. While governmental restrictions dictate some of those choices, it appears all other choices will be left up to the owner/manager. Are you ready to take a chance?
The choices will involve taking chances. How are you set for taking a chance? Here are just a few of the situations I am seeing among the businesses I serve.
Social distancing is still going to be a ‘rule of the road’. Large companies with grand office footprints are talking about limiting on-site presence, at least for the near future. Ideas like allowing only those employees with enclosed offices to return to work first. Cubicle workers will stay home a bit longer.
Restaurants are looking at separating tables by six feet, reducing seating areas. Stores may keep the Plexiglas panels they have installed at checkout stands.
As an executive, leader or manager making these choices, you create a risk for taking the chance to do something one way or the other. How will you handle that?
The Basis for Decision
Responding to the post-crisis world will be testing your leadership resolve. Do you have the ‘metal’ to stand firm in your convictions about the right thing to do? Clearly acting too soon to deploy large numbers of employees, patrons, or traffic in your facility may tag you an outlier. Are you ready to accept that risk?
The process to make these choices will demonstrate what you have been made of all along. As John Maxwell says:
“Experiences make us, but crisis reveals us.”
How will you be revealed in the face of the crisis around you? As the world finds its new normal, will your leadership character be strong or weak?
Core and Edge Thinking
There is a good explanation for dealing with taking chances as a leader. It has to do with the agility you have in moving from your core out to the edge. Let me explain.
Your Core is the center of your leadership framework. It is made up of all your beliefs, values, and relational experiences. The core includes your technical training and experience too. Likely you have worked hard to develop your leadership core. Just like working on your body’s core at the gym, having a strong leadership core makes you a better leader.
Your core provides the foundation of who and what you may be as a leader. It inspires your own sense of right and wrong, weak and strong.
However, your core can become your comfort zone too. You might be one who finds safety in staying very close to the core. This can be the downside of relying too much on core strengths.
Then There’s the Edge
For every one of us, there is an edge out there. The edge is the horizon of opportunity and challenge. The edge is where new growth happens. It is often an unknown situation or circumstance.
This is why taking a chance is a good example of being on the edge. The risk that is associated with going out to the edge is what makes leadership challenges so significant.
Explorers love the edge challenge. Finding new horizons.
That is why your willingness to go out to the edge is as much an indicator of your leadership prowess as is your core strength.
The third dimension of this model is called agility. Agility is a leader’s ability to move smoothly from core thinking to the edge and back again.
On one hand, being willing to freely go out to the edge is good, but if you get stuck there, you’re in trouble. You have to be able to get back to your center, your foundation. Think about Apollo 13.
Agility is the beauty of good leadership. Keeping your values high yet exploring new opportunities to grow and prosper your team, your work, and your business. By gracefully going to the edge while maintaining clear visibility of core strengths, you become a trusted leader.
Back to the New Chances
The new normal we are looking to establish represents the edge for all of us. The way we define the edge may be different, but it is an edge nonetheless. If your core cries out for certain values and expectations, but the edge is not clear, you are dealing with taking a big chance.
Your agility will be the factor that determines your success. Ask yourself what it will take to move forward.
Will an old habit of decision making fail you in this new crisis? Will you be afraid to take chances?
Or can you effectively, maybe even boldly, make the right decision to choose next steps for your business? By exercising your agility you can go out to the new edges, do what you have to do, then know you can always return to your core for strength.
Note: Core, Edge, and Agility concepts courtesy of Lee Hecht Harrison
Certain graphics courtesy of 123rf.com and unsplash.com