Livia Jenvey | April 6, 2020
Leading a company through chaos can be very challenging. With your anxiety climbing higher and higher each day, you try to figure out how to lead through this crisis. Your stress levels are high as you see cash flow drop or disappear due to a decrease in demand for your products or services.
It can be a struggle to manage your organization during such chaos. Trying to figure out how to be productive even when you're struggling to determine how to lead through something you have no control over.
As you try to manage your team(s), you're at a loss. You are struggling to balance between the demands of this 'new chaotic normal' on your own life while managing how it's impacting your teams—each day trying to handle their high levels of anxiety.
Yet, I can say from having spent years helping companies turnaround from situations where they had faced the struggles and challenges of unprecedented cash flow decrease, into thriving organizations. Recovery is possible.
To lead organizational recovery during a time of chaos, you have to go through what Cynthia Cohen describes as five phases of recovery:
Phase 1: Disbelief
Phase 2: Acceptance
Phase 3: Adapting
Phase 4: Innovating
Phase 5: Surging
In the organizations, I've helped turnaround. I've found leaders who can move quickly through phases one and two are the organizations that can recover the quickest. Which is why today, I am going to share how to move through phases one and two.
In the first phase of disbelief, it is reasonable to be in a state of shock when uncontrollable chaos first effects you. It's jarring to go about business as usual and then suddenly have to face the challenges of your world thrown totally off balance. Thus rejecting, being skeptical can be a typical frame of mind to begin.
Yet, if you stay in this state of mind of disbelief, your ability to move into recovery will be delayed, and the longer you remain delayed, the more negatively impacted an organization can become.
To work through a state of disbelief into acceptance takes courage, and the best avenue to help grow this courage is through communication. There is power in communicating your concerns with others, but during a time of chaos, it can be challenging to share your concerns with those you lead. So instead, connect with peers in your industry, mentors, coaches, friends, or even family members on your thoughts.
Having conversations with others how they are handling this challenge is an easy way to create an open dialogue. Communication allows you the ability to move out of the first stage of disbelief into the next phase of acceptance quickly.
Then once you're able to move into the phase of acceptance, it will allow you as a leader to lead with less anxiety and stress. Once you're in this phase, you can then begin to strategize your recovery.
For helping you handle the challenge of leading through uncontrollable chaos, start today, in creating the communication with others on your thoughts. Then join me again here next week, where I'll share some insight on how to lead your organization through phase three, adapting.
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