These are challenging times for everyone, bringing uncertainty to all aspects of our business lives. We don’t know what the future impact on our economy will be; we’re grappling with new ways of working and collaborating remotely; we are having to experiment with new ways of approaching and doing business; and there are countless changes that are affecting our day-to-day behaviour and communications.
Through all this, now is very much the time for CEOs and MDs to lead from the front, so they can drive their businesses forward. But more than that, the companies that survive these times will be the ones that are driven by thorough leaders. These thorough leaders are those that plan – who are careful and methodical about what they want their business to achieve.
Thorough leadership is not about an executive’s personality. It does not matter if you are gregarious or introverted – or if you are a controlling tyrant or an easy-going coach. It is about being meticulous and organised and putting detailed plans into action.
Here’s what the thorough leader needs to do.
Prioritise, Pivot and Plan
Now more than ever, a thorough leader needs to ask what needs to be done and how can we do it. They need to be certain that they know what the best thing for the company is right now.
In answering this for your own business, you can then put in place action plans and can construct new financial models for the year. This may just be about focusing on survival and on getting through this really difficult period. Or perhaps preparing for what you will do when we come out of this.
But it will likely mean rethinking objectives. What needs to be done may involve a complete pivot for the business – but without a detailed action plan, those new objectives will never be attained.
One Thing at a Time
The most frustrating entrepreneurs are those that cannot seem to stop innovating. They have brilliant business ideas one after the other, yet their focus is continually shifting. Sadly, what often happens is that those brilliant ideas are never properly realised, or don’t even get off the ground in the first place.
Instead, concentrating on just one task at a time allows you to focus on the detail. It means you can apprise yourself of all the information you need and go on to do an effective job. When you know all the specifics of a plan, you can better track how the business is faring. And if you discern that you are not on course to achieve the objective, you can decide what you then need to do to realign.
Equally, having sufficient knowledge of all elements of the plan will give you greater insight into the potential problems that might arise in the future. And this can help you be prepared for all eventualities.
Personal leadership is vital in times of upheaval. Successful and thorough leaders need to ‘show up’ day in, day out. They need to prioritise the business and put aside their own private fears and any misgivings that they might have about the current situation.
For the benefit of the business, you need to compartmentalise, turn your focus away from any personal issues and show you are leading. By ‘coming into work’ every day, being confident, and demonstrating you have a strong grip of the company’s plans, your managers and their teams will perceive you as a good leader and will respond accordingly.
Above all though, you need to take responsibility for making the decisions that need to be made right now. This probably means looking at opportunities rather than issues. It could involve pivoting the business entirely – for the short or the long term.
One way of effecting a response in a team – and demonstrating thorough leadership – is through communications.
As consumers, we are seeing an abundance of emails from CEOs right now. But as our tolerance for these communications is reaching its limits, it must be the case within organisations that communication does not dwindle. As a thorough leader, you need to continue to push internal communications. You have to be confident and actually increase the amount of communication.
Again, having a thorough knowledge of the detail will allow you to be a more effective communicator. Through your thorough, detailed communications, your management team and your employees will perceive you to be a confident leader who knows what is going on in your business.
Empower the Workforce
The current situation is harder for the more traditional companies. They don’t have experience of remote working, or maybe don’t have the tools in place to achieve it. This has negatively impacted these businesses, reducing productivity, profit, and staff motivation.
One positive output of this situation is that cloud applications and technology have enabled us to make use of proven collaborative tools. Their use will certainly continue to grow as companies come to realise what they can deliver and appreciate how they help to empower their workforce.
A thorough leader is one who enables the agility of their staff through technology. Staff can positively contribute to the organisation when they are given effective remote home working tools that allow them to access their data and business information, run productive meetings and continue to work collaboratively.
One example here is the use of business software. We’ve heard from our own customers that running NetSuite has given them a high degree of agility. With NetSuite, our customers have been able to work from anywhere without having to make any changes in configuration, nor having to invest in additional hardware or security.
And straight out of the box with NetSuite you get applications that touch all areas of the business: finance and accounting, CRM and marketing, sales, warehouse management, ecommerce and customer service. So, staff from right across their companies have been able to successfully continue to work from home. Compared with companies that run business software that is held on their premises, our customers have been able to much more quickly set up their employees so that they can easily work from home.
Are You a Thorough Leader?
It’s clear that we need thorough leaders so that our businesses continue to operate well, or can pick up quickly when the situation starts to return to normal.
In emergency situations, it is often the military that we turn to. It is no coincidence that the services operate with precision and fastidiousness. Their high degree of scrupulous care and attention to the details determines their success. Now more than ever, you need to be the general or admiral in charge of your company and apply that same measure of diligence to your own business.
It’s never too late to ensure the future agility of your business. We could have your company up and running with NetSuite in weeks. For more information, speak to us today for a demonstration or some guide pricing.