Many of us that have been business owners or leaders for a number of years tend to settle in at some point. We’ve done the leg work to start and create the foundation, systems, policies and procedures of our business or organization, and when that initial work is over we often stand back, let front line staff and managers take over and coast to some degree.
If the pandemic has taught us anything in the last 12 months it is that getting complacent in our businesses – or life in general- can make us lethargic and on autopilot at a time when we need to be just the opposite.
When I think of being nimble, what comes to mind are words like agile, flexible, innovative, and resilient. That is in contradiction to complacency or coasting.
Since most of us prefer the easy button, and since it is common practice as business owners and leaders to have a preference to do what we excel at and leave the rest to others capable hands, the pandemic has tested much more than our abilities and competencies… it has also called into question what it means to be an organizational leader.
As leaders we need to stay awake and aware not only of the changing needs of our clients and customers, not only of the latest rules and safety regulations, but also any and all areas of our business- the people side as well as the need to shift systems, policies, procedures or anything else that needs shifting.
That calls for nimbleness, however being nimble is about taking quick and decisive action. First we must have awareness of what it is that requires action. We won’t accomplish that if we are complacent or coasting either.
If we are going to create systems around anything, it may be the idea of doing a SWOT analysis much more frequently as well as staying engaged and aware of how things are going for our people both personally and professionally. Only by paying close attention to the subtle shifts (and not just the blatant ones) can we be quick to respond.
A SWOT analysis- identifying with others in the organization what the collective strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are day to day, and week to week can assist us with awareness of where and when we may need to intervene or innovate.
And while that is incredibly important to sustainability and profitability just as important is caring for your people. When your staff are hurting at home; hungry, lonely, fearful or overwhelmed, that will often transcend into difficulties at work. Being nimble is about being aware- who needs time off, a shift in responsibilities, a new position or additional support- any of these things can make a world of difference in someone’s world.
These are trying times no doubt. They call for us to wake from our sleepy slumber of
complacency and to be aware of all that is going on around us. When it comes to leading our organizations, take the time to pay attention, be curious and ask questions.
Only then will you know when it is time to spring into nimble action.