Leading in Tough Times: Wisdom from CEO’s

After I saw the ravaged store shelves this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to get some perspective on piloting through choppy waters from local CEO members of The Entrepreneurs Organization.

Many of them started tiny businesses that grew into much more serious enterprises and unknowingly committed themselves to quarterback a lot of folks. One recurring theme they brought up is the realization that there is no escaping the obligation to lead, especially when an emergency like the current COVID-19 pandemic is raging.

Here is a summary of the sage advice I gathered speaking to some of the city’s top business brains today on how they approach a crisis:

-Stay positive. No matter how crazy things are you are still in control of a lot of moving pieces. Fight the urge to be overwhelmed and focus on the positive things you are able to achieve.

-You set the tone. The leader’s positive energy will give more comfort and strength to your team than you know. In a crisis, the leader’s every action is noticed and scrutinized. You can make the most of this.

-Get the facts. Good decisions come from good data. Take time away to read, listen, talk to colleagues so that your decisions are well informed.

-Use your powers of vision. Not everyone is born with the ability to see the future. Many entrepreneurs, however, have this gift. Use it to prepare people for what lies ahead and to set their expectations as to how you will deal with the challenges to come.

-Comfort. Listen to everyone’s concerns and validate them, even if you disagree. This lowers anxiety and lets people focus rationally on the tasks at hand, of which there will be many.

-Keep some perspective. This is not the first or the last health crisis we’ll have. It will require decisive action over a prolonged period. However, sure as the sun will rise, we will get through it intact.