Are You A Proactive Leader?

By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching at Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting

In challenging times some people turn those rough times into success and others fail. Successful leaders navigate their teams through stormy seas as well as they do when the seas are calm. That success during unsettled times depends on you being a proactive leader who gets your team moving forward with strength and assurance and avoid spreading panic and uncertainty.

First of all, whether you have a team or are a sole practitioner, fight the temptation to give in to a state of panic – both for your own well-being and that of those around you. “Negativity breeds negativity. The wise focus on the positive in every situation.” Step back and assess your business and set priorities. This focus will help you to establish a plan and be able to take positive action. Remember to include your team in this process as not only is it important to keep communication lines open, but they may have valuable input as you set priorities and create your plan.

In taking positive action, the greatest concern for most businesses will be financial, so set up an “immediate financial triage”. If you have not created a cash-flow budget, do so now, listing fixed versus variable costs. Those fixed costs usually keep the doors open and have to be paid, so create a list of priorities about which ones are most important and set money aside related to the timing of when they will be due. These challenging times may push you to finally analyze unnecessary costs that do not produce revenue or relate to key business functions. If you have a team, evaluate what those costs involve and remember that they can be one of your most valuable assets.

Once you’ve addressed your cash-flow budget and have a better idea of where you stand financially, then if you haven’t already, read last week’s newsletter for information on applying for federal small business assistance and apply as soon as possible.

Invest this time in improving your processes and procedures so that when life becomes more normal, you will be ready to roll and with more clearly defined and efficient processes and procedures.

Marketing should not take a back seat. Communication now is more important than ever -clear communication with your team, with your resources, and definitely with your clients and prospective clients. Engage some of your industry partners and other local partners including your clients and use your collective creativity and brainstorm how you can help your community during these times. This approach isn’t about seeking business, but about serving those who may need help in your community. Not only will your clients remember your giving spriit, but those community partners will remember your leadership in organizing a way to help your community.

Finally, review your 2020 strategic plan, make necessary modifications, include building a reserve fund for the future, and remember to be flexible in these unusual times.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

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