Leveraging Culture and Leadership to Successfully Return to Business

Two key factors are greatly influencing pandemic responses and outcomes across the globe: culture and leadership style. As businesses begin to reopen and return to “normal” operations, it’s vital they understand the roles that culture and leadership play in doing so seamlessly and effectively.

COVID-19 AND LEADERSHIP AROUND THE WORLD 

Is now the time for a new story?

Some years ago, when virtual teaming was a fad rather than a necessity, I happened to come across a doctoral thesis on virtual teams. After three years of sweat and toil, the erstwhile student had summed up their work with the phrase “distance amplifies dysfunction”. My immediate reaction was that it seemed a blindingly obvious conclusion; however, as we now move into an uncertain but hopefully post-COVID world, "distance amplifies dysfunction" keeps bubbling back into my consciousness.

The New Normal In Governance: A Paradigm Shift?

As the coronavirus has made its way across the globe, nearly every person and every business on the planet has been impacted. Since 1945, when the Second World War ended and RHR International was founded, the consultants in our firm have worked with our clients to assist them in seizing the opportunities and meeting the challenges inherent in leading their organizations.

Do You Have the Right People in Your Foxhole? Consider C-Suite Peer Groups

Being a leader is a lonely job under the best of circumstances. Forging close friendships with work colleagues isn’t part of a CEO’s remit, nor should it be. Even executives who are committed to inclusive and transparent leadership understand that the unique demands of running an organization require a certain degree of circumspection. During a crisis, communicating with the right blend of candor, optimism, and urgency while preserving the optionality to make tough decisions becomes an exponentially more challenging needle for leaders to thread.

What CEOs Are Talking About Right Now

If you wonder what chief executive officers are thinking right now, here is a small window into those conversations. Recently, RHR International facilitated conversations with groups of CEOs from different industries. The purpose was to allow CEOs to share ideas and to calibrate their thoughts about reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown. As the CEOs started sharing, it quickly became obvious not every industry sector is in the same place. Some companies are fighting for survival, others are weathering the storm, and a third group is thriving due to new, unexpected opportunities.

CEO Succession and the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the coronavirus crisis impacts our society, it creates some unique challenges for boards. One of the major issues under consideration is whether the chief executive officer who took you to this point is the same leader who can take your company through this challenge and beyond. Ultimately, leaders are judged by the way they perform during the worst of times, and the current crisis represents a challenge that no current CEO has seen previously in their careers. How CEOs and their teams perform during these moments of truth will be an unforgiving test of their character.

Developing Talent in Crisis and Beyond

As many of us look at how businesses can survive during this pandemic-induced business slowdown (or shutdown for many), it should be obvious that leadership is more important than ever. The leadership choices being made today will have profound and long-term impacts not only on the business, but on employee engagement and loyalty. Most leaders will be thinking about the defensive moves that they need to make to protect their businesses. A few will be thinking about opportunities that may provide chances to grow or redirect their market positioning.

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