- January 17, 2023
- Posted by: Craig Martin
- Category: Uncategorized
Looking into what’s ahead in 2023, it’s clear that the future of leadership is more complex and dynamic than ever before. As CEOs and executive teams responsible for charting a path forward, it’s essential to be open-minded, agile, and adaptable, as change is constant in today’s volatile business landscape.
Of course, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the current economy amid inflation and the risk and duration of recession, making it difficult for businesses to navigate. But this comes with the territory; we have seen uncertainty at the start of all recessions. So executive leaders must focus on both the short-term and long-term, while actively filtering out the “noise” – the negative news, information manipulation, media hype, and clickbait — to keep their teams tracking the “signal” and be prepared for the future beyond the recession.
For example, Martin Global Leaders works with some small firms in the financial, life science, and technology sectors. Many people at these companies are under the age of 30 and have never seen this economic and stock market cycle in their careers. They are understandably apprehensive and disoriented. We offered the executive team this advice to lead their teams confidently:
- Like the breath of the body, the economy always inhales again.
- Look at cycles of where they are now as a company and where they will be in 6 to 24 months.
- Remain aware but filter out the economic and political noise for employees, the public, and investors.
It’s paramount for leaders not to over-focus on the temporary state of the current economic and political cycle we are in now. Instead, executive teams need to prepare for exiting the current cycle and look beyond the horizon with a couple of simple practices.
A top leader at one of our client firms recently shared their approach to balancing short and long-term: “Here’s what the world will be in 4-5 years; here’s where we are today; here’s how we get from here to there; have your eyes up to know where you’re going and eyes down so don’t trip.”
For the sake of our organizations, we as leaders have to work on ourselves to be personally grounded amidst uncertainty. “The leader brings the weather,” as the saying goes. Think about a sailboat in rocky seas. For your body to move with the rolling seas and not get thrown about, you have to find your center of gravity, stay grounded, and be focused on the horizon, no matter the uncertainty of the sea. The same thought process applies to leaders in uncertain economic times.
Approach your day in a way where you are being intentional and do things that ground you. For example, work out, meditate, be with family, garden, or participate in what allows you to feel controlled and gives clarity.
Invest in growing yourself and your team to be collectively smarter and wiser
During the Great Recession of 2007-2010, MGL worked with a firm in the supply chain and materials handling business. Instead of laying off workers, they doubled down on advancing their up-and-coming talent’s management and leadership skills. This allowed them to exit the recession with a more engaged, aligned, and better-performing team. Their business grew by double digits.
There is something to learn in every business cycle. Reflection and evaluation can help you work smarter in the future. Here are a few guiding questions to consider:
- What are we learning?
- What’s working well?
- What could have been done better when interest rates were lower?
- What did we do when the economy wasn’t doing well?
- How can we improve our sailing even though the seas have gotten rocky?
- What can we invest in now that will benefit our results in 2 years?
As one C-level executive recently shared: “Do you have clear goals and a team that can continually execute and raises the bar on capabilities; can we convert last year’s art into this year’s science?”
A way to determine where to improve talent and teamwork is by utilizing assessments to determine where to focus capability development for the future. Our Five Disciplines of Leadership Teams Questionnaire helps CEOs and executives gain precise insights on how their leadership team is currently operating and where it needs improvement based on 27 indicators of a High Value-Creating Team. Download your free copy here.
Are you ready to make your leaders and team ready for the future? Contact Martin Global Leaders, an affiliate of Global Team Impact, at [email protected] with questions or to request a free 30-minute consult.