When a market shock hits a business, industry or country, the volume of (sometimes conflicting) opinions masquerading as facts and business advice escalates dramatically. It is distracting and confusing at a crucial time when leaders need to decide and act quickly. In working with my best clients over the last two decades, I’ve found that there is a basic discipline associated with successful transformative change following a market shock. Sourcing credible information for decisions is important. However, leaders can never have all the information. That’s what leadership is about – making good judgements and achieving results when it seems there are none to be had. The leadership challenge during a market shock is to narrow your focus onto those things that matter most right now. The first strategic decisions when a market shock is unfolding are to ‘stabilise the business’. It is about acting to ensure your organisational survival. The insight is that your immediate priority is not to prepare a new strategy, restructure the organisation or streamline processes and metrics. That will come in good time. First, act to stabilise your organisation. That means managing yourself, safeguarding your team, reinforcing relationships with your best customers, clients or members and cutting costs where you can. Once you have taken stabilising actions, you can then start figuring out how to serve your customers or members in new ways and position to flourish in the recovery It may seem boring, but your organisational stability and future is more likely to be assured by sticking to the fundamentals. A good example of how things unravel when you stray from the fundamentals was when people believed the hype during the ‘dot com’ era of the 1990s. They thought that somehow, different rules applied to internet businesses. Companies rushed into the market in defiance of all known business fundamentals, and when the crash came, most of them just as quickly imploded. The point is that there is a discipline for leaders in times of rapid change. Those that stick to the business fundamentals to achieve their organisational purpose will have prospects for a long-term future. First stabilise, then strategise.
Opinion Masquerading as Facts and Advice
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