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Why Vision, Engagement and Leadership should be at the heart of your Business Recovery Plan

There’s no need for me to describe these past 12 months.  We know.  We’ve experienced it.  We’ve dragged ourselves through it.  And we’re just coming up for air and thinking “what’s next?”.  It’s these reasons the foundation of an organisation’s post pandemic recovery plan should be Leadership, Vision and Employee Engagement.

Previously close knit teams have suddenly worked remotely.  Our sense of competence and control has been whipped away from us.  Plans were shelved.  Contingencies developed and changed.  Businesses have seen significant restrictions on their ability to trade and some have been unable to trade at all.

Organisational Leaders and Business Owners have felt tremendous pressure across the globe.  For some time, we’ve focused on surviving the fight.  But we can’t stay in survival mode forever.  How can we now refocus and emerge match-fit and future-proofed?  It’s time to focus on recovery and growth, despite the disruption the whole world has faced.

There are three key areas that I think should be the foundation of an organisation’s post pandemic recovery plan :

  • A Common Vision
  • Leadership
  • Employee Engagement

Before we can head in a new, stronger direction – we need to know what that direction is.  A common purpose is the starting point to creating a sense of achieving positive outcomes.  It’s not unusual for our visions to fall away during times of crisis.  When a previously agreed strategy is knocked so far off course by such an unprecedented event, we end up with an overwhelming sense of uncertainty – and the COVID-19 crisis has most certainly done that.

Even amongst the pandemic, there’s been some powerful examples of work cultures rising above the disruption and uncertainty; clinical teams in the front line, manufacturers pivoting to produce urgently needed medical supplies, and volunteer armies rising up to help those less mobile or connected in their communities.

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” -Jack Welch

Now’s the time to revisit and renew your organisation’s vision in light of a new operating environment.  What is the vision, the light, you can give your people so they can follow and feel a sense of direction.  If your people don’t know where you’re trying to get to – why would they make the journey?

Leadership

Having a common vision is one thing – how do you bring it alive?  You’ll need a strong and aligned leadership team to do this.  But it’s possible your Leaders may be fatigued, uncertain and concerned for their future.  Even the best leaders are probably needing a boost.  Leadership is about achieving through others, but if your Leaders are empty and drained, they are not going to be able to engage and achieve through others.

Invest some time and energy into them and their development.  Help them understand themselves, their values, their beliefs and their triggers.  This is a time when leaders could be driven to busy themselves – meetings, plans, operations issues – fears of vulnerability that shift them toward self-preservation and a desire to maintain control

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” —Warren Bennis

Research shows that in a business-as-usual environment, compassionate leaders perform better and foster more loyalty and engagement by their teams.   However, compassion becomes especially critical during a crisis.

Employe Engagement

We know the evidence of higher levels of engagement and business performance.   Gallup research shows us that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%.  If that wasn’t enough we saw that as the economy began to rebound after 2009, having an engaged workforce became a strong differentiator in earnings per share (EPS). Companies with engaged workforces seemed to have an advantage in regaining and growing EPS at a faster rate than their industry equivalents. Conversely, companies with average engagement levels saw no increased advantage over their competitors in the economic recovery.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”- Simon Sinek

Engaged employees think about the organisation as a whole, how they fit in and how they can contribute to this evolving organisation.  They have the best ideas, they make changes and they make a difference.  Just what is needed right now…

Some ideas to take away.

  • Bring your Leadership Team together (virtually is fine) If all members of a team truly understand how each other tick, and what direction they need to move in –  then surely they must perform better.
  • Forget your usual anonymous engagement survey, it’s costly and takes too long to get the results.  Choose a smart and agile approach to understand what’ll engage and retain each individual and how they feel right now.
  • Talk to your people about your organisations’ vision and purpose.  Use zoom to have conversation with groups – not only Town Hall events – let people quiz you and ask questions.
  • Role model compassionate leadership in how you make decisions, set priorities and communicate.

Is the foundation of your organisation’s post pandemic recovery plan built on Leadership, Vision and Employee Engagement?  It doesn’t need to be costly and complicated, just people focused.  You could start off with understanding your own Emotional Intelligence skills?  Click here to request your own personalised Emotional Intelligence report and start on your journey!

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