By Izabela Murici, partner at FALCONI
When we speak of effective leadership, we are necessarily talking about delivering results and achieving goals. But how can we do that at the time Brazil is going through, with a severe economic recession that affects all industries, making the achievement of good results a more challenging task? The aim of this article is to outline some recommendations so that companies and their leaders can cover this route with greater assertiveness and success, generating competitive advantages for their businesses.
A company with a strong leadership system, which values and invests in technical knowledge and in the managerial method, has a more efficient process because it encourages everyone’s involvement in the pursuit of results while generating knowledge and learning. The possibility of a company with those qualities coming out of a crisis stronger is great, with leadership being a key factor, as it channels and aligns efforts and resources in the search for results necessary for its survival.
Although challenging, the current situation does not change the content of leadership, which is: achieving goals, together with one’s teams, with attitudes in tune with the company’s values and culture. For leadership to be exercised, no matter what the context is, companies need to establish processes and policies that make it possible for leaders to conduct the management process (the achievement of goals) by involving people (with the team) and showing the way (in the correct manner).
Within this model, it is the leader’s role to create the desire, that is, to put the goal into people’s hearts. There is no other way out. That is how leaders will be able to inspire each one to do their best in the search for results. Working in cooperation with their team, leaders must seek the new and unknown to overcome any challenges, but at all times with systematic planning, information, and data analysis. It is important to bring up for discussion specific knowledge about the topics considered so that there are strong plans of action and decisions based on reflection and strategy. Those plans must be implemented and managed with a good deal of discipline, working to the deadlines set. Procrastination is a forbidden word (and attitude) in this context.
Thus, being close to one’s team, constantly developing everyone’s sense of urgency and an “owner attitude”, with quick implementation and prompt response to the industry’s economic changes, is crucial for achieving results. In this regard, it is also important to effectively communicate the internal and external challenges, goals, actions, and results. People need to understand their connection with the company’s end result.
Soon after setting and assigning goals and preparing plans of action, a fundamental practice that leaders need to adopt is the implementation of result management in a regular and systematic manner. Working methods and a meeting agenda must be adopted so that it is possible to analyze results against goals with intellectual honesty. Such meetings should be based on facts and data, with the team participating in the discussion about corrective actions.
Deviations can only be avoided if results are analyzed and if new actions are put forward in a transparent and clear manner. In that case, the role of leaders is fundamental. This is no time for justifying bad results or blaming the crisis. Instead, it is time for finding the causes and proposing corrective actions, thinking outside the box and working creatively. A good practice is to create specific groups to focus on critical problems so that plans of action can be discussed in depth and improved with new knowledge, courses to follow, and actions.
Some important steps may help leaders in their search for results:
1) Assess the essential goals and the distance to the result planned for the year (e.g.: revenue, costs and expenses, bankruptcies, loss and cash generation);
2) Set communication actions in order to win people’s commitment;
3) Create improvement groups to address specific problems and provide support – take part in the analyses and propose actions, helping the team with systematic planning and technical knowledge when necessary;
4) Be open-minded about creative actions and think about the business model adopted and the market trends;
5) Structure yourself and have discipline when keeping control and achieving results and do not accept justifications;
6) Audit and work continually to maintain control of the budget because any mistake can be critical for the industry;
7) Promote your team’s growth and learning within a pleasant and collaborative atmosphere in alignment with your company’s values and culture.
There is no silver bullet to solving today’s problems. Companies, by means of their leaders and teams, need to overcome challenges with the help of goals, choose the best course to follow (with a good plan), and have discipline and speed in decision-making. We have assisted quite a number of companies in this regard and the results always show.
Text featured in the June special edition of the magazine Super Varejo.