“We don’t talk about struggle enough,” said Steven Snyder, author of Leadership and the Art of Struggle (Berrett-Koehler, 2013). “We deny it and treat it as a taboo topic. That forces people to become embarrassed about it. Struggle and leadership are intertwined, challenges create the opportunity for leadership and growth.”
As entrepreneurs, being your own boss can be both a joy and a burden. We are responsible for tough decisions, such as how to stay relevant in the marketplace, how to handle tough economic times, and how to make difficult decisions, like letting go of some of the most talented members of the team. It is never easy, and learning to grow your business in difficult situations, and to do things differently, is essential for any business owner.
With any burden, there is also joy. The joy of working with a team that believes in the vision of what you want to achieve as a collective – that no matter what the circumstance you might be facing, they always show up to execute a client’s vision under trying times. There is also the joy of loving what you are doing.
Being a good leader is about being able to rise to the occasion and face the tough times head-on and fight for the survival of your business. It’s the ability to step up, step in, fight for your team and prepare them for the future.
Growth for our industry is to be adaptable and make sure that we always have our finger on the pulse. What is really important in our business is to ensure we have the right mix of people in our team, not only in culture but in age too, paired with the right experience and skills.
In such unpredictable times, it is essential to always remain constant in service delivery to clients and to meet and understand their needs. Clients and teams need to feel that they have the right partners and are supported in their business roles.
In our organisation, sustainability, care, values, and purpose are key. Focusing on these important pillars is evident in how organisations and brands are communicating and building campaigns, especially around lockdown for now, and for our generations to come.
Developing sustainable brands and offerings is becoming a priority. Building circular strategies is key to businesses in order to make meaningful differences in our lives and these need to be tangible and in how we connect with our consumers.
Ensuring that businesses are not talking to consumers, but having authentic, honest conversations with them is what it is about.
Ecommerce as we all know has been the biggest growing channel during the pandemic for most industries. How brands show up on social media and digital platforms has never been as important as it is now. Using data and personalising the conversation with shoppers and consumers based on their behaviour is what most businesses have focused on by partnering with innovative digital platforms.
As much as businesses have the need for structure and stability, they now also require, more than ever, to be flexible in their approach.
Feeling understood, heard, supported, and seen as part of a team or as a partner is important. We are all on a journey of growth and need to be recognised. We need to make sure we surround ourselves with the right people along the way in order to make the most of our journey and not only grow but thrive!
Growth for all in the client’s ecosystem is paramount and should be driven by tangible and measurable results that are derived from meeting the clients’ objectives.
We are all living in tough economic times, where we see clients cut their budgets but still expect the same results and creativity. I try to stay calm, remain excited about my business, and be with a team that also inspires me, and I view tough times as an opportunity to test my skills as a leader.
This is the mindset we all need to adopt in order to ride the wave of tough times and come out stronger on the other side.
Di Wilson is founder and CEO of Integer/Hotspot, a shopper and growth agency based in Rivonia, Johannesburg.
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