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Leading through the wilderness

June 16 2020 by Gayatri Wood

We are in the unknown.

Of course, we have always been there, life has always been uncertain, but never in living memory has the uncertain and unknown been so near the surface of day-to-day life.

This is a critical time for you and your business, and it’s harder than ever to know what the ‘right’ thing is to do.

So, what might help you navigate these tricky times?

At Wow, we are partnering with our friends at FizzPopBANG to bring you the best possible expertise in building high performing cultures. Having worked with global brands such as Sony Music, Stella McCartney and the ECB, the team at FizzPopBANG is ideally placed to help us deal with some of the challenges we’ll face in the coming months and share their expertise.

We spoke with Francis Briers, Client Lead at FizzPopBANG and asked for advice:

Imagine you are an explorer in the wilderness… go with us here. We haven’t gone nuts! You’re guiding people into the wild unknown. What do they need from you?

  1. Honesty and humility: It is no good loudly declaring that everything is fine when you don’t really know. To continue the metaphor, if you are pretty sure you all need to head north, say that. Don’t try and claim you know exactly what’s going to happen. It may be well-intentioned, but you risk being so busy pretending you know what to do, that you’ll miss the moment when someone else might be able to give you some great advice.
  2. Vulnerability: This one might seem a bit counterintuitive, but once your kids or animals have crashed your zoom meeting, you can’t pretend to be a bulletproof ice-maiden (or ice-mister?!) even if you ever wanted to. More than that, by showing more of your human side, you give everyone else permission to be a bit more open and honest with each other. That will help you all and build trust.
  3. Courage: In spite of your own uncertainty and in the face of your own fears, you are going to have to make choices.  Probably some tough ones. Don’t avoid or delay, start thinking about your contingency plans for various scenarios now.  It’s not about obsessing over it and worrying; it is about preparing everything that you can. You can’t know what will happen but the pro’s like astronauts’ practice everything they can so that they can give their full creative attention to all the stuff they could never have guessed at.
  4. Meet people where they are: Whatever happens, everyone will experience it differently. When you are feeling the buzz of solving a problem, someone else might be struggling with being isolated for so long. Often people talk about ‘the change curve’, but there’s no single curve here. We are all experiencing wave after wave of change, large and small. Whatever changes you are dealing with now and in the coming months, there will be an impact on the culture of your business. You will need to help people and give them space to process the emotions as well as the practical changes.

If you’d like to better equip yourself to be a skilful wilderness leader so you can be as effective and supportive to your team as possible, check out this workshop FizzPopBANG is running on 8th July. 

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