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United Minds’ Forward to Work: Leadership in Uncertain Times

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United Minds’ Forward to Work: Perspectives to Guide Re-entry webinar series explores different considerations for people, culture, and change leaders managing the return to work.

In our fourth session, “Leading in Uncertain Times,” former Chief Human Resources Officer of State Street Capital Alison Quirk and President of United Minds Kate Bullinger discussed:

- The leadership challenge before us
- Profile of a leader in these uncertain times
- What employees need from leadership now
- Preparing leaders for re-entry
- Seizing the long-term reinvention opportunity

Please visit our website for more information: http://unitedmindsglobal.com.

Published in: Business
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United Minds’ Forward to Work: Leadership in Uncertain Times

  1. 1. Forward to Work Leading in Uncertain Times
  2. 2. 2 With us today Kate Bullinger President, United Minds Alison Quirk Former Chief Human Resources Officer, State Street Corporation
  3. 3. 3 The leadership challenge before us Profile of a leader in these uncertain times What employees need from leadership now Preparing leaders for re-entry Seizing the long-term reinvention opportunity What we’ll cover
  4. 4. 4 COVID-19, racial inequity and ongoing protests For many leaders, this is both the biggest challenge and the most definitive moment of their careers
  5. 5. 5 1. RESPOND Leaders had to act quickly to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees and the health of the business. 2. RESET Leaders are preparing to scale operations back up, still facing uncertainty without a vaccine and widespread immunity. They must shift from reactionary measures and begin to make medium-to-long-term changes to how, when and where work gets done. 3. REINVENT Leaders must display cautious optimism and energy to build anew. They must re-evaluate their organizations, decide which change initiatives to continue with, which new ones to introduce and how to position their organizations for the long-term. Strong leadership is needed at every turn
  6. 6. 6 Consumer needs & expectations shifting overnight The reality leaders face: disruption in every part of the business Changes to the way products and services are delivered Interruptions to operations and supply chains Large-scale organizational restructuring JUST REPORT The COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker: How America’s Largest Employers Are Treating Stakeholders Amid the Coronavirus Crisis How to Make Sure Your Product is Needed In A COVID-19 World Heightened expectations for corporate leadership on CSR, D&I and community support
  7. 7. 7 Anxiety, uncertainty are plaguing people across all aspects of life AT WORK 7out of 10 employees say this is the most stressful time of their entire careers WHEN SHOPPING Half of consumers reported a reduction in spending in the last two weeks 43% believe it will take them 6 months or longer to recover financially WHEN INVESTING Sources: Ginger, McKinsey, Betterment
  8. 8. Leaders are no exception 8 Little opportunity to cope and process events personally or privately1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Many are working remotely and managing virtual teams for the first time at scale May or may not have the skills required to lead at this time, and needing to learn in real-time Having to make tough decisions without all the facts and without precedent to rely on Answering to concerned shareholders, partners, suppliers, customers and employees Being watched closely with every move scrutinized Facing high expectations for their role in addressing current societal issues
  9. 9. 9 a new type leadershipof
  10. 10. Compassionate Leadership begins with the intention to see as others see and feel as others feel.
  11. 11. Compassionate leadership in action 11 When Violence Erupted, One Mayor Found All the Right Words ‘An absolute gift’: Southwest flight attendant, American Airlines CEO have emotional racism talk at 30,000 feet A Message from Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky
  12. 12. 12 Profile of a successful leader in uncertain times This core set of attributes is needed now more than ever 1. Trustworthy 2. Communicative 4. Flexible 3. Empathetic 5. Future-oriented Behaves with integrity and good intent; follows through on commitments Is visible and reliably shares credible information as it becomes available; engages in two-way conversations Puts people first; seeks to see and feel what others see and feel Sets a hopeful vision for the future and rallies others in pursuit of it Adapts his/her thinking, leadership style and decision- making to meet the moment
  13. 13. 13 Earn employees’ trust Most employers have established credibility with employees related to their response to this crisis, but must continue earning it day by day 01
  14. 14. 14 Few things will earn employee confidence more than values-based leadership Employees want reassurance that their leaders are doing the right thing whenever possible, especially in difficult times. Trust is built through dialogue and action, not proclamations and intentions
  15. 15. 15 Commit to timely, transparent, two-way communications Source: Roger D’Aprix 02 The key questions we need to answer How have expectations changed in this environment? How do I request accommodations and find resources? What can I do to help the business? My clients? Others? Where is this heading? How are we getting ahead of impacts? Will I have a job in the future state? Will the nature of my job change? How is my part of the organization doing? JOB SECURITY OUTLOOK WAYS TO HELP INDIVIDUAL NEEDS PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK WORK UNIT OBJECTIVES
  16. 16. 16 How communications impacts trust Receive Info (%) Do Not Receive Info (%) Proud to work for their employer 90 35 Employer puts the safety of workers above profits 84 38 Employer’s response is exactly what it should be 85 28 Look forward to going back to work 84 41 84% 80% 53% Receive Updates from Employer Working in an office or facility Working at home Furloughed Source: KRC Research
  17. 17. 17 CEOs and other leaders must be front and center, communicating trusted information Key to managing employee anxiety is a consistent cadence of communications from leadership CEOs could consider borrowing from Governor Cuomo’s model I believe communication is important and I believe words are important. Say what you mean.” “
  18. 18. 18 General communications principles to keep in mind Be visible and accessible, even in this remote environment Establish a regular, predictable cadence Invite dialogue and ask for feedback Be an attentive and empathetic listener Be comfortable responding “I don’t know” Be human in content and delivery, especially now Don’t make promises you can’t keep Use forums that suit your style
  19. 19. 19 Communicating in a time of racial tension Now more than ever, leaders and managers must reaffirm company values and express their personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion Ensure the CEO sets the example for other leaders to follow Convene small group discussions and encourage one-on-one conversations Recalibrate all corporate communications for content and tone Provide opportunities for storytelling that fosters understanding Educate employees on how to express support and practice allyship Make time to co-create solutions
  20. 20. 20 Empathize with your people and support them in ways that meet personal and business needs Lolly Daskal 03 + Truly listen + Don’t interrupt + Be fully present + Leave judgment behind + Watch body language + Encourage the quiet ones + Take a personal interest + Lead from within
  21. 21. 21 Stay flexible – in attitude, thinking and approach 04 What worked in the past will likely not work in the future The IBM Work From Home Pledge During times of COVID-19 I pledge to be Family Sensitive. I pledge to support Flexibility for Personal Needs. I pledge to support “Not Camera Ready” times. I pledge to Be Kind. I pledge to Set Boundaries and Prevent Video Fatigue. I pledge to Take Care of Myself WITH YOURSELF + Be humble + Adopt an innovation mindset + Avoid making assumptions WITH OTHERS + Be open-minded + Solicit good ideas from everywhere + Respond to different employee needs differently + Don’t be afraid to experiment and course correct + Check in with your people regularly to recalibrate expectations
  22. 22. 22 Provide increased flexibility to what was already a diverse workforce with diverse needs Employee groups may need special accommodations FRONTLINE EMPLOYEES - Hazard pay - Paid sick leave - Modified schedules - Company- provided PPE DISABLED EMPLOYEES - Extended WFH arrangements - Commute accommodations - WFH office set-up stipend PARENTS - Extended WFH arrangements - Job role changes - On-site accommodations OLDER EMPLOYEES - Extended WFH arrangements - Job role changes - Paid leave
  23. 23. 23 Practice optimism 05 Research shows approximately 50% of people are worst-case thinkers. In a crisis, they will be operating from fear — contributing negative energy and sharing doomsday scenarios. The antidote to this is for leaders to operate from a realistic assessment of what is most likely to happen, challenging the team to move the needle into more positive territory.” “ Lucy English, meQuilibrium Kalev + Be emotionally self-aware + Choose to exude positivity even when they’re not feeling it + Acknowledge the challenges but talk about the future with vision, passion and commitment + Celebrate wins of all sizes to build belief and momentum A positive outlook leads to positive emotions and positive emotions lead to increased performance, loyalty, motivation, and customer service. The emotions of leaders shape the feelings of the people around them for better or worse. “Emotional contagion” is real, making it all the more important for leaders to:
  24. 24. 24 to meet the moment Upskilling leaders & managers
  25. 25. The great re-onboarding customized training, events and engagement opportunities that ready leaders and managers for the new way of working. Relieving anxiety by acclimating people to the spaces, protocols and behaviors required in a COVID world.
  26. 26. 26 Upskilling leaders and managers in two key areas NEW OPERATIONAL PROTOCOLS New schedules, hours and work locations Testing protocols Sanitation procedures LEADERSHIP SKILLS THAT MEET THE MOMENT Supporting employees’ health and safety Fostering mental and emotional well-being Building an inclusive team Building personal resilience Leading a hybrid team Having difficult conversations
  27. 27. ON-DEMAND TRAINING VIRTUAL WALKTHROUGHS LIVE SESSION WITH LEADERSHIP PRE-CAMP CAMP EXPERIENCE Leader & Manager Surveying Customized Re-onboarding Plans POST-CAMP Reboot Camp Leader Playbook Day-in-the-Life Re-Entry Video Series WEEK 1 TRANSITION Leader & Manager Concierge Services Socially Distanced Social Events (Re)boot Camp Goals 1. Ensure leaders’ physical, psychological and mental well-being 2. Reduce anxiety about returning to work 3. Provide a positive and seamless experience AT-A-GLANCE 27
  28. 28. 28 for the Leading long term
  29. 29. 29 Now is the time for leaders to chart the path forward DON’T JUST RECOVER, REINVENT. As the COVID-19 situation begins to stabilize, leaders are shifting from crisis management to planning for the future. And planning for the future is all about transformation. Leaders have an opportunity not only to recover but to reset and reinvent, coming back stronger than ever.
  30. 30. Acceleration of change that now has new urgency Re-evaluation of projects, priorities and resources More disruption than people can absorb or accept Redefinition of the employer- employee relationship 30 Preparing for the future: What leaders might expect Bringing worry, fear and grief into the workplace Affirmation of values & emphasis on critical behaviors
  31. 31. + Everyone is facing anxiety and uncertainty, even leaders themselves + Compassionate leadership is what is most needed in today’s environment + Not all leaders have the skills they need to lead through this time; companies must help them to acquire them in real-time + Leaders and managers have a critical role to play at re-entry/Day 1 of “the new normal” but must also be thinking long-term Key takeaways 31
  32. 32. Trusted resources 32 Harvard ManageMentor: hbr.org/harvardmanagementor Center for Creative Leadership: ccl.org United Minds: unitedmindsglobal.com
  33. 33. Forward to Work Leading in Uncertain Times

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