We have lived through a global expansion that has lasted more than a decade. That is over. Many people don’t even recall what a recession looks like. Those that do were probably not in leadership positions when it happened.
What we will experience in the coming months is different. It’s important to take the reins as a leader and help your people come to grips with the reality of this situation.
In a downturn, all of your stakeholders want to know you have a plan. Your employees, your shareholders, your suppliers, your customers, and everyone else who interacts with your company will follow a leader with a plan.
Here are some ways you can provide leadership:
Tell your stakeholders you care about them. Tell them they are all important to you and you are going to do everything you can to steer your ship through this storm. And also tell them you need to cut costs and will keep them apprised of what that means as you complete your planning.
Cut costs now. Conserve cash. Your financials are not going to look pretty. A good leader has a plan for the worst-case scenario — a plan that ensures the long-term viability of the company. Pull out that plan.
Be honest with all your stakeholders. Tell them you can’t promise anything. Let them know that the world is unpredictable, and unfortunate things will happen, but you are planning for these now. Don’t sugar-coat anything.
Ask them. You have an opportunity to get great ideas about what to do from every stakeholder. Even if only 10% of what you get back is valuable, you have demonstrated that you care, and you get some valuable concepts to put into place.
Watch your competitors. They may take radical action to compete. The better-capitalized ones will use that to their advantage. Determine what you can do in light of their actions.
Think especially of your customers and prospects. In almost all situations, they will be cutting back. What can you do for them now? How can you take care of your customers better than anyone else they are relying on? What can you offer to prospects that will cause them to work with you now, rather than later. And, think about your long-term branding. What do you want customers and prospects to think of you when this is all over?
Finally, as a leader, take care of yourself. These will be trying times and you have a lot of people relying on you. Be healthy. Be positive. Take action with a leadership mindset. Do it now.
If you want to discuss this with me, grab some time with me via calendly.com/glenngow, or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.