COVID-19 has shocked the world with its severity and scale, jolting organisations and leaders out of their comfort zone. However, there has never been a more compelling time to focus on the possibilities and uncover new opportunities. Its profound impact means there has never been a more critical time for leaders to lead.
Amid this crisis, people are yearning for “excessive decisiveness”. Procrastination is not only a waste of time but could result in you and your organisation’s demise in this environment.
People want leaders to make tough, courageous decisions and have the vision to adapt, innovate and help the organisation and its people emerge beyond the curve in a stronger position – fit for purpose for the new normal!
Quite simply, organisations cannot afford to go through the same old processes they did before all of this happened. Now is not the time for business-as-normal thinking.
The stakes are too high and the speed of change too rapid for organisations to stay stuck in collaborate-and-consensus-rinse-repeat mode. The times we live in call for swift and decisive action, not ponderous deliberations. People want this from their leaders right now.
Perhaps even more crucially, this is what is required if you want to stay ahead of the curve and come out the other end of the COVID-19 tunnel having survived and thrived.
Excessive decisiveness is about accelerating the way decisions are made and problems solved. To do that, leaders must have the resilience to back themselves and back their teams.
It is important to note that excessive decisiveness is not the same as a dictatorial power trip.
Instead, it’s about cutting the layers of padding that slow down quick movement and thinking among teams. It’s about spying opportunity when it presents and pouncing on it. It’s about stripping back and streamlining decision-making processes to the point where rigour and speed become intertwined.
It is also about using technology intelligently and effectively. Organisations reframing, repositioning and accelerating revised and new IT strategies to take advantage of the new normal. What was taking some organisations years to do is now being compressed into days and weeks. Urgency has accelerated the process of digital transformation.
Professor Jon Whittle, the Dean of the Faculty of IT at Monash University, says: "Digital transformation is going to be more important than ever as the economy starts its recovery. We likely will see industries accelerate tech investment post-COVID. They'll need it to get efficiencies where they can, and to give them a competitive advantage. And they've seen from the rapid reliance on tech in the COVID era that digital transformation is possible - and can happen fast."
Leaders who undertake excessive decisiveness create an agile decision-making framework that enables critical team members to assess, decide and act when, where and how required.
Concise and practical communications, lateral and flexible thinking on strategy, and the confidence and composure to advance on an opportunity are vital elements of leadership during a time of crisis. Leaders cannot afford to hoard these qualities for themselves. Effective leaders need to enable these qualities to shine throughout their organisation, especially among crucial group leaders.
COVID-19 has set the world on a warp-speed trajectory. For CEOs, you must have a guard of invisible armour around you at all times, as you fight seemingly never-ending battles during this pandemic crisis. Your armour needs to be tough but also lightweight enough to enable swift maneuverability. Resilience is essential for every leader and organisation.
The slow and the tentative will face a painful reckoning. Resilient leaders who can move with excessive decisiveness will prevail during these unprecedented times.