It’s almost second nature for business leaders to lean in and help their team weather a storm. The pandemic was a perfect example as many companies that I worked with were trying to figure out new and creative ways to make sales in order to keep from closing their doors. On the other hand, these trying times turned into a pot of gold for many companies that were able to pivot quickly. The stream of new customers opened the floodgates to unparalleled success. But instead of laying off daily disciplines and going with the flow when things are going well, strong business leaders should put just as much energy into new processes, alternative methods, and growth as they do when times are tough. Let’s look into leading when times are good.
Create Value in a Market
First, when experiencing success, leaders should always create a gap between where their teams are now and what they’re striving for. A business only exists to create value in a market. When times are good, businesses have room to get experimental in how they’re going to approach the marketplace in new ways and elevate delivery to potential customers. When companies are overrun with business, teams scramble to get things done and details are often missed.
Instead, direct teams to focus their attention on ways to elevate value delivery to the client, both technically and experientially. Switching the culture from frenetic defense to cognitive and careful offense will leave team members grounded. Dialing in the value delivery will also result in more client referrals.
Next, leaders should always be developing their people. When a business is running smoothly, leaders should have room around them both emotionally and contextually to dig in and help team members become the next professional iteration of themselves. Prevent them from going on autopilot and more importantly, keep them hungry. Try implementing challenge programs between executives or employees where they switch positions for a week and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. This exercise builds empathy for the roles of others, between departments and triggers employees to want to do their jobs better when they return to their position. Challenge programs are extremely developmental because growth is inevitable.
Lastly, when times are good, elevating the emotional intelligence (EQ) of team members is a great way to keep functions within a company from stagnating. An easy way to build EQ is through team building. For instance, if there are 12 people on a team, at the beginning of each meeting, have three people highlight one person where they acknowledge what that individual brings to the table, what’s truly unique about how they operate, and make sure their delivery is creative. Another key for elevating EQ is for people to self-identify weaknesses in their own development or weaknesses they have when it comes to the next job they want to obtain within the company.
Leaders should always be pointing in a positive direction and taking their group of people there. They shouldn’t be happy with where things are because something can always be created. It’s important to continuously collaborate, even when times are good, to have a strong sense of where they are going to point next and how they are going to get there.