During a crisis, leaders must analyze data, examine costs and benefits, and assess threats and opportunities. But the most important action they should take is get into a proactive mindset, rather than a reactive one.
It begins with how you start your day. Rather than reach for your phone — and react to whatever message you read — take a deep breath and spend a minute in silent meditation. Affirm your expectations for the day and visualize what you want to happen. You need to see what you want before it becomes reality. Anything you repeat to yourself with emotion become your conscious mind and guides your decisions.
Look after your health. Exercise is good for the body and mind. Reading 10 pages of a good book — any good book — can make you a better person. And take 5-10 minutes to journal what you are grateful for. Talking positively to yourself helps you avoid the paralysis of pity and fear and the pitfall of allowing circumstances to dictate decisions. Happiness is the precursor to success, not the other way around.
Once you are in the proactive mindset, you can provide clarity and focus to your team. Hopefully, you have assembled a team of diverse, positive people who can provide you a variety of perspectives. Leaders must have self-confidence, but they should beware of hubris — the attitude that their way is the only right way.
When your organization experiences a shock, you’ll face multiple pressures. Shocks tend to reduce revenue but increase demands on resources. A critical first step is to assess where your resources are and what resources you can convert cash. You will also need to determine whether to follow what your industry peers are doing or take a different direction.
You will need to make decisions quickly, without time to gather all the information, so make sure you use the best and most accurate sources. That said, don’t make decisions with undue haste and keep your stakeholders — your clients, your employees, and your investors — in mind.
It is tempting to focus on costs, especially large ones, but before making cuts, study the long-term implications. For instance, canceling advertising to save money lessens your visibility in the marketplace, especially if your competitors are still promoting themselves.
As a leader, you will be faced with difficult, even painful, decisions necessary for your organization to survive and potentially thrive in the future. But this time outside your comfort zone is an opportunity for growth.
Even with circumstances beyond your control, you have a choice: act upon faith or fear. Faith is believing we will persevere through the crisis. Fear is believing the worst will happen. Successful leaders have a faith mindset.
Ball State University accounting professors Jason Stanfield and Tiffany Westfall will co-teach Successful Crisis Management of Self and the Organization this summer. Their course is part of a special set of new classes at Ball State to examine the impact of COVID-19 from various perspectives. For more information on the discoveries, scholarship, and immersive learning partnerships of Ball State’s innovative faculty, visit bsu.edu/faculty.
This article is sponsored content paid for by Ball State University.
Ball State University accounting: https://www.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/accounting/academic-programs
Special set of new classes: https://www.bsu.edu/academics/summer/covid-19
Ball State: https://www.bsu.edu/about