In a crisis, our reaction is often to “batten down the hatches” — a nautical phrase meaning to seal the hatches (doors & portals) against a storm.
But in this current economic downturn (a more pleasant word for “crisis”), it’s a time for business leaders to open up the doors and windows. This is a time to look outside, to go outside — instead of hunkering down in safety mode, your leadership stance needs to be about getting outside your comfort zone. Look at all possibilities, listen to all opinions and observations, turn your modus operandi upside down.
Eli Whitney’s cotten gin, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, and other phenomenal inventions were borne of an economic blight. “Necessity is the mother of invention” — it’s not just an antiquated saying, it’s a mantra worth duct taping to your office wall!
Will you be a leader who “battens down” and curls up in a protective ball, surviving in the short term? Or will you be a leader who’s business thrives in the long run by opening up to fresh possibilities — including crazy, radical ideas that just now lurk beneath the surface, or in the minds of your staff? Will you be the leader who puts your company in Inventor mode?
This month’s Harvard Business Review features an article, “Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis,” which speaks to the depth of our current economic travails and pins the hopes of the future on adaptive leaders.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!