McKinsey has been providing a couple of valuable articles on the coronavirus and offers up some thought leadership and business suggestions as we recognize the challenge this brings across the globe, in societies, and in business
Although they are providing the suggestion that leaders exhibit five leadership practices, it is the very first one that catches my eye. It is the setting up of a network and allowing it to be the response team to the pandemic and how the specific company is handling it.
So I am going to quote from one of the articles offered by McKinsey ” Leadership in a crisis: Responding to the coronavirus outbreak and future challenges,” fully acknowledging “Copyright © 2020 McKinsey & Company. All rights reserved”. I offer this extract to provide a stimulus to business and individuals searching for leadership guidance or ideas to help their business work through this crisis, we all find ourselves.
“To promote rapid problem solving and execution under high-stress, chaotic conditions, leaders can organize a network of teams. Although the network of teams is a widely known construct, it is worth highlighting because relatively few companies have experience in implementing one. A network of teams consists of a highly adaptable assembly of groups, which are united by a common purpose and work together in much the same way that the individuals on a single team collaborate.”
McKinsey offer this as the structure forming a network effect
“Some parts of the network pursue actions that take place outside regular business operations. Other
parts identify the crisis’s implications for routine business activities and make adjustments, such as helping employees adapt to new working norms. In many cases, the network of teams will include an integrated nerve center covering four domains: workforce protection, supply-chain stabilization, customer engagement, and financial stress testing.”
It is through a network you can encourage transparency and collaboration
“Leaders should foster collaboration and transparency across the network of teams. One way they do this is by distributing authority and sharing information: in other words, demonstrating how the teams themselves should operate. In crisis situations, a leader’s instinct might be to consolidate decision-making authority and control information, providing it on a strictly need-to-know basis. Doing the opposite will encourage teams to follow suit.”
Lending the high level of support and encouragement to those within this network becomes important
“Another crucial part of the leader’s role, especially in the emotional, tense environment that characterizes a crisis, is promoting psychological safety so people can openly discuss ideas, questions, and concerns without fear of repercussions. This allows the network of teams to make sense of the situation, and how to handle it, through healthy debate.”
The article offers this advice and how this coronavirus crisis is different and should be managed so
“During a crisis, leaders must relinquish the belief that a top-down response will engender stability. In routine emergencies, the typical company can rely on its command-and-control structure to manage operations well by carrying out a scripted response. But in crises characterized by uncertainty, leaders face problems that are unfamiliar and poorly understood. A small group of executives at an organization’s highest level cannot collect information or make decisions quickly enough to respond effectively.”
The critical point is to set the priorities but allows the network to discover and implement the solutions
” Leaders can better mobilize their organizations by setting clear priorities for the response and empowering others to discover and implement solutions that serve those priorities.”
The key message is the network needs to be fully supported and designed to act.
To read more of this timely article by McKinsey, the link again is ” Leadership in a crisis: Responding to the coronavirus outbreak and future challenges.”
This McKinsey article is written by Gemma D’Auria, a senior partner in McKinsey’s Dubai office, and Aaron De Smet is a senior partner in the Houston office.
Copyright © 2020 McKinsey & Company. All rights reserved. Extracts here published to stimulate a wider distribution of the article. I encourage you to read it, it is helpful to us in these times.