Apr 29 2020| Leadership | crisis

Leaders Don't Just React in a Crisis, they Initiate

What are you creating?

by Phil Eyre Founder

May’s edition of Business Brief is now out, featuring the latest article in my leadership series. 


These challenging times have shown that good leaders take the initiative, they don’t just react in a crisis. Good leaders can help organisations to create new actions and new processes that improve the lives of the people they serve. 


New beginnings


The word “initiate” has its root in the Latin for “beginning”, and in the midst of a crisis, it might seem counterintuitive to be thinking about initiative and beginnings, but that’s precisely what leadership demands. 


Leaders must harness creative skill to initiate products, services, processes, actions and more that enhance other people’s lives. This is especially so in a crisis; the best leaders are fast initiators and that requires creative thinking.


Creative thinking to solve problems


Creativity is a wonderful human quality; leaders don’t so much react to a fast-changing environment as create. Rather than simply amplifying new information, they conceive new ways of being and doing that were previously not needed or not imagined. 


Creativity in a crisis is closely linked to resilience. This might sound at first like a contradiction, as resilience is, in essence, our ability to handle losses. Resilient leaders are more able to take the initiative. 


They are able to recognise that what once was is now no more, and rather than hold fast to products, practices and presumptions they let them pass, focusing their energy instead into initiating new ideas and solutions for the changed environment. 


We have observed this across the Channel Islands over recent weeks. Some inspiring examples include: 


  • The gifts business that redesigned its products, recognising new demand from people working from home, with a 300% increase in sales. They’ve also experienced an increase in productivity despite - perhaps because - their people are working from home. 


  • The drinks business that is now producing hand cleaner instead of wine. 


  • The signage business rapidly producing PPE equipment for essential services, including doctors’ surgeries and food retail. 


  • The architect that has designed a working-from-home ’shedquarters’ (I want one!)


  • The professional services firm that is sharing skills and insights via weekly webinars, now attracting hundreds of new contacts. 


  • The healthcare business that’s seen rocketing demand for some of its usually-secondary products, now offering a whole range of healthy products to an expanding customer base.  


  • The legal practice providing drive-through wills, ensuring social distancing and providing a much-needed service; 


  •  The finance business that responded quickly to a client need and won over £100m of new business;


  •  The creation of websites that enable permitted retailers to deliver to people’s homes; 


  •  The collaboration between 3D printing enthusiasts ranging from students to business people which enabled the production of face shields for hospital workers;


  • The local church that launched innovative digital community services, including a food bank, children’s support and pastoral care. 

Creativity like this is not the preserve of those with executive titles - it never has been, although the reality is, in a crisis, it is those in positions of authority who must take these ideas and bring them to life. Leaders who are unable or unwilling to do so should step aside and make room for those who are. 


Leaders’ expertise in psychometrics means we can quickly identify whether you or your team is likely to react or initiate, if they can think creatively or if they pre-disposed to a constrained response. 


Find out how we are supporting and challenging our clients right now. Click Here 

About The Author | Phil Eyre

Phil is Leaders’ founder. He has an enthusiastic and inspiring style, drawing on his experience in business, academia and social sectors to help any leadership team to achieve phenomenal performance. Phil has sophisticated expertise in psychometrics and in the application of human data for individual, team and organisational success. He has trained with, and been mentored by, global leaders in this field, notably Dr Chuck Coker in the US. Phil began his career in the UK offshore finance industry in 1994, working for a wealth management company in Guernsey, Collins Stewart (CI) Limited, now Canaccord Genuity Wealth International. Phil was head of the company's Guernsey division, with a staff of 120 and assets under management of £4.5billion before resigning from executive responsibilities in 2008. Phil has served on the boards of three charities, including BMS World Mission, a UK charity with over 80 employees and a global reach. Phil also ran the Guernsey hub of a national theology college, received accreditation as a pastor in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and served as a non-executive director for Canaccord Genuity Wealth International. Phil is a member of the Institute of Directors.

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