Editor's Note: Dr. Lalia Rach is the new Executive Managing Director of Strategic Consulting Services, a division of ALHI. Her columns will appear regularly and her consulting services are available to ALHI clients and hotel members. For more information, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every now and then we are given the opportunity to think, see and imagine a different world. This is that actual moment in time when we have the opportunity to establish how a post-COVID business world will operate. It is time for leaders to navigate the quagmire of how to adapt in these changing times, to determine what is needed going forward, whether it be taking on a different organizational structure, embracing emerging technologies or advancing 20th-century process and procedure.
Over the past year, we have witnessed true leaders weathering the storm, staying composed in the midst of discord, when all seems doomed. The true leaders rallied colleagues and explained the crisis in relatable terms. Not every leader rose to the occasion, but those who did provided a sense of connection and calm, kept their team focused and made certain reliable information was available. With so much at stake, employees at all levels were looking to trust, to follow a leader who embodied the ideals we all crave.
Now we all find ourselves knee deep in change, some of which we control but most of which we do not. The true leader will continue to exhibit that calm behavior, speak the truth and care about employees; they will look for simple moments of joy to share with others. It is in these moments that thoughts can focus on the concept that anything is possible. To accomplish this realignment of the thought process, I look for exercises, such as a half-day retreat using a book like Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter & Holger Rathgeber. I also look at quotes such as Einstein's "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." Other inspiration includes articles like "The Biggest Mistake a Company Can Make" or videos like the "Golfing with Ida" video (below) that can be shared and discussed with other leaders.
The video above is a great example of a life filled with belief, fortitude, resilience and enjoyment all traits leaders need in order to carry others through the morass of change. Consider just one of the characteristics demonstrated by the star of the video enjoyment. We often cast aside such emotion in our workday as we become bogged down in the barriers and challenges of change and forget to step back and imagine how wonderful it will be when all is said and done. This video reminds us of our indomitable nature, our desire to stay in the game, to continue setting records no matter the situation. So take 90 seconds and reconnect with joy. Then go back to accomplishing the difficult task ahead with a renewed vision of success.
It is also during these times when even the simplest action can be scrutinized by those who constantly say no, dubbed as "no no's"-in the fable Our Iceberg Is Melting.
No no's are motivated by doubt concern that proposed changes will undermine success; worry that their power will be diminished; and desire to maintain 'sacred' traditions all among the chief reasons for standing firm against change. Then there are those who are frozen by concern over losing their position. They view change negatively, and are not willing to accept that change will happen whether they are engaged or not.
To those of you who did not step forward over the past year, please understand that you failed those who look up to you. Leadership matters, so either accept your responsibility and be accountable or step aside. To those of you who stepped forward as true leaders during the crisis, do not stop; continue being that leader, as you are needed now more than ever.