Keep Calm and Lead the Way
By Brett Boyle
An interesting thought came to me yesterday whilst I was talking to a #Foodservice business in Sydney about how they are doing everything they can to maintain their business in this interesting time and it made me think about how past generations have managed huge disrupted change.
My dad was born in 1946 and always talks about how he remembers as a child the tail end of rationing from World War Two (he still can’t look at a choko) and how the current situation we now face could potentially be as life changing as the reason for that rationing. So how then do we adapt to this situation when nobody under 70 years of age in the western world has faced this kind of denial of products, services and general freedoms?
One of the things that got the world through the three decades of chaos between 1914 and 1950 was leadership at all levels. The people leading the world in 1914, 1929 and 1939 and beyond were not necessarily the leaders even a year into these dramas because they were what the military call 'peace time' leaders, unable to think outside the square and weather the storm.
Every military leader who came to the fore throughout conflicts have done so, not because others fell but because they showed initiative, thought, strategy and most of all, actual leadership. Sir John Monash was scrambling mountain ranges at Gallipoli in 1915 and by 1918 was General Officer Commanding ANZAC troops on the Western Front.
On a political front, people like David Lloyd George, Sir Winston Churchill and John Curtin became leaders that we needed because they were aggressive, proactive, productive and direct “war time“ leaders. Those who either couldn’t read the mood or were unable to cope fell by the wayside. Not every idea they had worked, but at least they tried. Sir Peter Cosgrove improvised, adapted and overcame and led a successful mission in East Timor and proved his great worth which saw him spring boarded to Chief of Army and then eventually Governor-General.
So what do we need to do as business leaders in the next 4-6 months? In my opinion, good and effective leaders think on the go. Leaders need to quickly think, review, act and be seen by their people. If you’re not down on the factory floor doing tool box meetings, picking orders with your warehouse teams, encouraging your finance teams to investigate new measures of cost effectiveness, out on the road and seeing how your customers are thinking with your sales teams, working with your human resource leads and most importantly redeploying your people quickly, it’s not going to end pretty.
Again, improvise, adapt and overcome and let’s make this happen and work together. Your people need reassurance, stability and strength from their leaders, so show them what you’re made of!
Reach out if you need assistance, somebody to bounce ideas off or ideas to create change.