Dr. Pawan Singh, MD, and CEO at PTC India Financial Services
(Dr. Pawan Singh is MD & CEO of PTC India Financial Services. He was a member of the IRAS and holds MBA and PhD in management and has 34 years of experience in finance including infrastructure finance. He has handled high/Board level responsibilities in leading PSUs and now heading a leading NBFC in area of sustainable green infrastructure finance. He has been responsible for the turnaround of power companies from loss-making to dividend-paying companies).
Any entrepreneur will be able to tell that managing a business of any size comes with a sizable amount of uncertainty. Even with substantial planning, sometimes issues arise that are seemingly out of our control. The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined what uncertainty means. During uncertainty, the reaction of leaders is very vital. To effectively lead others, leaders must first learn to lead themselves. Business risks can’t always be predicted, but business leaders can best prepare for them by developing strategies that can apply to a range of possible outcomes. Let’s understand the top 5 mantras that work well in the business environment.
Mantra 1: Prioritizing tasks amid uncertainty
Too many leaders get caught up in doing everything possible within their power during uncertain times rather than focusing on what they should accomplish first. As a result, they spread themselves too thin across multiple priorities and become stressed by all the activities they’re trying to complete. Instead of focusing on everything essential, determine what’s most essential and prioritize your activities around achieving those goals first.
Mantra 2: Creating future-ready leaders through growth-oriented culture
Leaders should identify which skills are required for which employee depending upon their current work as well as future roles and responsibilities. They need to divide employees into two categories of skill development, technical skills, and management skills. Those employees who are individual contributors, their technical skills must be developed and for people in supervisory roles or leadership roles, the focus must be on management skills.
Mantra 3: Power of effective communication
Transparent communication is key to building trust in the team and maintaining good client relations when faced with the unknown. Internal and external communication helps people work together, share ideas, and align around a common goal. The more clearly you communicate your strategies to stakeholders, the more confidence they will have in your ability to steer the company forward.
Employee engagement is also a subset of good communication. For those unfamiliar with the term, employee engagement is all about the relationship between an employee and the business they work for and is primarily focused on the emotional commitment that an individual has to their company and its goals.
Mantra 4: Developing storytelling skills
Weaving stories of employee heroism creates a culture that also helps in achieving and going beyond the standardized routine. For example, running a campaign for early career opportunities, people who have retired, women returning from a career break, and recruiting people with disabilities are also coming forth as strong initiatives that represent great work culture. This can also be part of an effective PR campaign.
Mantra 5: Going lean only when needed
Think about what you can cut, from marketing costs through to leases. The last area you should consider reducing is staff costs because these are the people helping you build your dream. If you must address talent, talk with your team about a combination of options—pay cuts or deferrals, alternate working days, and reassigning roles—before reducing headcount. By staying close to the market, you may find new opportunities. Tough times can bring out the best in you, your leadership team, and your organization, bringing teams closer together and driving clarity in a company’s mission and vision.
Sailing ahead without the fear of failing
One of the biggest challenges that leaders face is the fear of failure. To address this fear, break down the business problem you are trying to solve into a series of smaller chunks and then establish acceptable failure parameters. By following this method, one can develop a process to navigate uncertain outcomes systematically and convert failures into opportunities. Remember that most business leaders have faced failure in one form or another in their lives. The successful ones have learned valuable lessons from those failures and become experts in their fields. By taking calculated risks leaders can minimize the damage and improve overall results.