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  • Mark Hastings

Leadership & Collaboration in a Crisis

In my role as SynergyMode Advisor, the recent (virtual) CEO Breakfast Roundtable discussing Leadership in an ever-changing and ridiculously fast-paced world was excellent.


Never has this been so apt at now with the Cover-19 global pandemic!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


The key takeaways for me were:

  • Although the context in which leaders need to operate is changing, leaders still need the same key skills: more on these in our recent blog about leadership in the 2020s here

  • The importance of keeping existing routines and enhancing communications/check-ins such as 5 minute daily video-cons from leaders (ideally with pets / kids / partners to demo authenticity) or all-company / team drinks.

  • We are still in the first mile of a marathon - enabling people with the tech and tools to work from home is not the same as creating a highly engaged remote workforce that is collaborating and working effectively. Indeed the ONS have just released figures that, of the 32.6m people in employment in the UK, less than 30% have ever worked from home in their current job: that’s a lot of new ways of working to embed!

  • On top of significant changes to working practices, this is a heightened time of anxiety for staff: online searches for health anxiety have increased by 3,000% in the past few weeks. Leaders need to be providing additional support for staff to help them adapt and cope.

  • This is a real opportunity for businesses to build deeper relationships with their existing client base and also with staff, partners and associates.

  • The need for businesses and organisations to realise that the world has changed and will not revert to how it was. This is the new normal.

  • That ‘hunkering down’ and 'riding this out’ is not going to cut it - now is the time to adapt: the organisations who will emerge from this the strongest are those who are already changing their business model and ways of working permanently.

  • The decisions leaders take now are critical: some will kill their businesses (think Sports Direct and the massive customer backlash), some will simply revert back ways of working that frankly were outdated pre-Covid-19 and some will reinvent / re-imagine their business models. The latter will emerge the strongest.

  • This is a rapidly evolving situation that requires daily attention, agility, flexibility and adaptability.

  • The importance of network and collaboration: no-one was incentivised or paid to join the round table this morning but everyone was enthusiastic about sharing their views and experiences. Thank you!

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