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                Confidence in a Crisis

                Michelle Sales/11 December 2023
                1 minute read time

                Leadership teams will often reach their potential in times of crisis. And the question is often asked in executive teams and board rooms:

                “How do we leverage the performance and behaviour of the team on the other side of a crisis?”

                You know the saying, ‘don’t waste a crisis.’

                But in 2018, there wasn’t a crisis. Covid didn’t exist. And this team had been together for a few years and had been performing well. But the CEO knew there was more opportunity to be ‘Better Together’; To work on fully maximising the potential of the team; and prepare them for the next 5 years, and the opportunities and challenges that were ahead of them.

                We set about to elevate the capacity and capability of the executive team, so they were ready to lead into the future – whether that meant in times of uncertainty, volatility, or complexity.

                As it turned out all of those came to bear in what was the crisis of Covid-19. Together we focused on 3 main areas:

                • Building and elevating how the team individually and collectively exercised leadership;
                • Deepening the connection and ability to collaborate and challenge across peers, and
                • Unleashing the desire and the mindset to be truly better together.

                We needed to translate ‘Better Together’ from a mindset and way of thinking to the behaviours and a core way of showing up as a critical success measure.

                • Being deliberate about the Impact your wish to have as leaders;
                • Having clear intentions and purpose;
                • Being able to master the potential of your team, not just the individuals within it;
                • Putting in place an operating rhythm or pulse that ensures performance success;
                • Clarity of accountability and high performance being as much horizontal across a leadership team as vertical. Peers can hold each other to account rather than waiting for the CEO to do this;
                • Great open communication; and
                • A deep foundation of trust that enables all of this.

                We utilised HBDI - Herman Brain Dominance Instrument – so everyone in the team understood each other's thinking preferences – and what this looked like when the team came together. This uncovered how to be deliberate about getting into the big picture strategic space and out of operational when needed; how to go to solution and execution – but when it’s needed.

                The team looked at what operating rhythm and pulse they needed to leverage their new behaviours.

                Right from the most strategic meetings to the daily operations. We asked, “when we come together how do we get maximum value from this?”

                We stood around flip charts and discussed and debated priorities until clarity, priorities, and accountability was achieved. It helps to introduce some healthy conflict so teams can debate this.

                360-degree feedback has been an integral part of the process, likening the act of building feedback to exercising a muscle. Just as consistent workouts and nutritious foods strengthen the body, regular feedback sessions fortify our ability to grow and excel.

                Together, we built stronger team communication and collaboration muscles. We strengthened feedback and the ability to challenge each other, and debate ideas.

                All the work and development this team did to be ‘Better Together’ in the lead up to 2020 enabled maximised potential and a thriving team environment through one of the most challenging periods of our time.

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                Michelle Sales/11 December 2023