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Dear Fellow Leaders,

The uncertainty associated with the changes demanded by COVID-19 is unprecedented.

As a leader, we know you are challenged with how to navigate the changing landscape and the work/life integration challenges occurring across home offices globally. You’re concerned about the wellbeing of your team and their families, and making sure you are taking the “right” steps to keep your team focused on achieving their goals.

Responding to the unique needs of your team, company, clients, and the ever-changing global landscape is elevating day-to-day stress, making it hard to know what to focus on.

Leadership Horizons – The Now, The Mid-Term, and The Long-Term.

No one knows with 100% certainty how the post-covid19 environment will unfold. What we are experiencing is that our future world of work will change and require an expanded set of skills along with a shift in mindset to achieve success.

Leaders who carve out the time today to start thinking about and working on each of these three leadership horizon strategies will find themselves better prepared to manage through the uncertainty with greater confidence.

The Now

Now must be focused on the heart and mind of your people. During this stage, be purposeful about building a leadership legacy knowing that what you do – or not do – right now will be remembered.  What you do – or not do right now with your teams – matters.

Valuing flexibility and placing greater purpose and attention on boosting skills in the areas of emotional intelligence, change management, and courageous communication are critical. Understanding how you and your team respond to stress and addressing their individual needs will help them to maintain their productivity and focus.

Your team wants (needs!) you to address what we call the Human Element. Remember, they are humans first who happen to work at your company. They are not your employees who just happen to be humans.

This is a mindset shift for leaders who are uncomfortable with emotions or initiating conversations that stray from work topics. Easy conversation starters, employing emotional intelligence, and empathy skills are essential when leading through change and uncertainty.

While taking care of your people (and yourself!) you must also turn your attention to The Mid-Term.

The Mid-Term

This is when we start to return to some semblance of “normal” day-to-day experiences – both personally and professionally.

Offices and businesses reopen, with many operating differently than before the pandemic. We must start to purposefully reconnect with our teams, clients, and partners. During this time, achieving wins will be vital to the momentum of moving your team and the business forward. The Mid-Term will require both human element and business strategy focus.

Support for our teams during The Mid-Term will look like developing skills such as mental toughness and fortitude to reach the long-term given that we will likely be returning to activity in fits and starts. This also includes strengthening competencies tied to individual and team accountability with an emphasis on virtual effectiveness.

Leaders will also need to be doing more strategic work on the business in The Mid-Term, planning for new business models and industries, pivoting due to shifts in functional roles and organizational structure.

The Long-Term

Finally, reserve some brain power and time to roll up your sleeves and dig into The Long-Term and the implications and possible outcomes of this phase.

Start thinking about and planning for what a wholly new world of work will look like – for you, your team, and the business. Assess what mindset and skills will be productive and necessary long-term so you can start training for those in the mid-term.

Thriving, Not Surviving

Unfortunately, we recognize that some companies won’t survive, even in the short-term. Others are waiting and will react to where market is after the mid-term. Some may manage and find themselves ahead of the curve after the mid-term. And still others are the ones creating the curve, figuring out what they can do now to set themselves up for success later, to thrive in the longer-term.

Your leadership legacy is built by honestly evaluating how your team and company is performing now and how you can prepare to innovate in order to prosper in the long-term. Making a plan to address the mindset and skills needed to navigate the three horizons will better position you and your team for success.

We are using this Leadership Horizons framework to help our clients assess their current state, identify which horizon they are currently in, and where they need to spend focused time and training to prepare for what’s ahead. This discovery and analysis is not to be taken lightly and is an important step for surviving and thriving in the coming days.

Author Riverbend

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