Stronger Together: Leading Through Crisis

Stronger Together: Leading Through Crisis

We are all in this together. Every community around the world united by one thing: COVID-19. We have a collective goal to withstand and recover, but it is our individual actions that will influence our progress.

Thankfully, many leaders are stepping up to reassure their customers, employees, and shareholders that they are resilient and ready to steer their organizations through to the other side.

Like Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, who published an internal email on LinkedIn with her message of strength: “Disruption and trying circumstances are not new to us. This team always rises to the occasion and just as we have in the past, we will chart our course.”

This determination is especially true of the life sciences and healthcare leaders who are joining together to stretch resources and drive innovation in an unrelenting attempt to save as many lives as possible. Such as the collaboration between Novartis, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a consortium of life sciences companies.

“We feel a deep shared responsibility to see if there are specific areas where collaboration across the life sciences industry and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can accelerate solutions to this pandemic. Collective action is critical,” said Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis.

What is clear of this crisis is that there is an overwhelming commitment to the greater good and a shared belief that although this period will be extremely tough, we will get through it together. 

IIC Partners, like many of these leaders, has been in business for over 30 years and has weathered economic downturns, shifting oil prices, the dot-com bust, September 11, and the global financial crisis in 2008. Our executive search consultants have been trained in crisis resilience by crises themselves.

But I must be clear: this is not ‘crisis as usual.’

The effects of COVID-19 are rippling through every community, disrupting our lives in ways previously unimaginable, and leading to a loss of life of a massive scale. The emotional impact on my family, my colleagues, and my community, is at the forefront of my mind.

As leaders, we must be honest and not play down the severity of this crisis, at the same time as doing all we can to help our communities.

This is where I am truly thankful to be part of a global network of 450 purpose-driven consultants — we can accomplish far more together.

To this effect, we have been holding regular video calls to remain agile in the face of rapid developments. Although the mood is somber towards the crisis, the opportunity to share our experiences and learn from each other is extremely valuable.

We will continue to advise and support our clients as they adapt and evolve their businesses and help them place the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Another area of clarity, shining brightly within this crisis, is the invaluable contribution diversity plays in delivering effective leadership. 

Each person’s experience of this crisis is starkly different. From the impact of local and national government policy to the availability of effective healthcare or green space near your home.

Diverse voices sharing openly within leadership teams allows us to see the spectrum of experience, and in turn, help us to serve our clients and communities better.

It has never been more important to make sure every person in your organization feels safe to share and that their opinion truly counts. 

All of our individual futures rely upon one another, and every day we are presented with opportunities to lift each other up. On a global scale, we must support the economies that are less shock-resilient to help them weather this storm.

Our world will not be the same place on the other side, in both good ways and bad: I hope that our amplified community spirit will last and that public health resilience will be stronger, yet it will be a difficult path for the families who experience the loss of their livelihoods, or even worse, their loved ones. Now we must do all we can to help each other withstand this crisis, and soon enough, build towards recovery.