Leadership during a crisis

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Strong leadership is crucial in a crisis – winning businesses work together as one team, on a united front.

In our orange-paper, Covid-19: Sparking a new era for digital maturity, Nigel Lemmon, Suzie Williams and Ken Towning, unpack the key attributes of the most successful and important leadership roles during a crisis, with a specific focus on learnings from Covid-19.

Chief Financial Officer

When uncertainty reigns, the CFO needs to examine the active financial strategy and point-in-time financial position, to ensure there has been and continues to be, a healthy balance sheet, liquidity and solvency ratios. Concerning Covid-19, there was also the opportunity to understand where government support could be needed or called upon to help the organisation.

Overall, during a crisis, the CFOs have to put aside longer-term strategies, and instead focus on short-term tactics and measurements to ensure survival.

HR Director

The HR Director should always react at pace, with supporting messaging. During Covid-19, HRD also had the important task of ensuring all staff were easily locatable so that IT could provide them with the right tools. Additionally, it was and still continues to be crucial that the HR Director provides support and advice on anxiety, new or changing performance measurements and ways of guiding and managing remote staff.

Chief Information Officer

During the pandemic, the CIO had the largest expectations on their shoulders. For many, who had struggled to justify technology changes, they found themselves with a far easier route to quickly implement cloud and other remote working technologies. This is because needing to deliver technology change had never been more pressing.

With the help of clear priorities, permission to spend and less aversiveness to risk, IT met the challenges and delivered an unprecedented set of changes at pace. This enabled customers, workforces, partners and management to not only continue to carry out tasks but communicate easily and enable staff to support one another.

IT is crucial during a crisis as it touches every aspect of a business. Those willing to risk making changes quickly fare better than those who are slow or chose not to change. Companies who adopt a test and learn strategy with minimum viable product deliveries adapted quickly and can put the most change through.

Chief Executive Officer

Steering a business through uncertainty is the biggest challenge for a CEO. The businesses that respond best have a CEO that, even in part, prepared for unusual events or could tactically adjust while providing clarity on priorities and outcomes.

The CEO’s that best-navigated Covid-19 had an early and clear direction and messaging. And, if the direction changed, they communicated why and how just as clearly.

Additionally, roles such as digital officers, communication directors and others also have key parts to play to keep customers and staff engaged.

Check out the full report here.

Unsure how to successfully lead your organisation through a change programme? At Sullivan & Stanley, we provide the expert teams and unique assets required to help businesses cut through the uncertainty of change.

De-risk your change and successfully improve your leadership capability, by getting in touch today.

Written by
Sullivan & Stanley