Article

Leading through hard times

COVID-19 is the ultimate test of leadership and management – a sudden and life-threatening upheaval, where all aspects of day-to-day business and livelihood have been thrown into uncertainty. Businesses around the world have been and will continue to be tested by this pandemic as sales and revenue targets fall short. Some companies may even be faced with the reality of downsizing, leading to all-time-low morale.

In this extraordinarily challenging time, it’s the responsibility of an organisation’s leadership team to provide guidance that can ease the uncertainty and provide a new focus that’s predicated on finding the opportunity within the adversity.

However, this isn’t an easy task. Aligning the mindsets of employees to see the positives when surrounded by negative developments is challenging. But this is when leadership truly counts, the ability to galvanise the troops and shift the focus.

Led by Phil Davies (CEO) and Arron Davies (COO), the leadership team at FlyForm continues to push the company forward with resilient resolve. When the UK’s national lockdown began on the 23rd of March, the leadership team immediately stepped up and acted decisively.

Navigating through the path of uncertainty in ways that minimise the ongoing fallout has required FlyForm’s leadership team to keep fear in check and rethink risks beyond the usual parameters. Here’s how the senior leaders at FlyForm are taking control of the situation, staying calm and finding the silver lining within the clouds

1. Transparency & Communication

In times of crisis, communication – good or bad, plays a key role in how teams react and move forward. Some organisations’ instincts might be to shield employees from what’s going on with the business by not keeping them fully informed. The downside of this approach is that misleading statements like ‘everything is great’ can be harmful in the long run when bad news can no longer be concealed, leading to sudden shockwaves across the organisation and eroding trust.

Open and transparent communication has been one of FlyForm’s core values from day one. Our team - like all other employees across the world - had concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on the company. This is when our senior leaders stepped up and truly lived up to our FlyForm values. They addressed every employees’ concerns with a detailed financial and operations roadmap. The roadmap is continuously updated as situations change, and any amendments are communicated to the team on a weekly basis. By keeping communication open, the leaders at FlyForm have kept employees informed and focused on seeing how the organisation will move forward.

2. Learning from the adversity

Adversity is in many ways undesirable. It comes in different forms and places individuals in uncomfortable situations. Due to COVID-19, the world has been in a constant state of discomfort and adversity. On the other hand, the adversity forces business owners to look toward the lessons they can learn about their business.

When adversity hits, we start to ask questions. The stronger the adversity, the deeper our questions become. Business owners will naturally find themselves facing a lot of questions during this time. Sometimes, these questions can lead to unexpected gifts. It’s imperative for the longevity of the business that they dig as deeply to unearth ways the business can navigate through the global crisis.

The senior leaders at FlyForm have dug deep and uncovered plans that will not only allow FlyForm to survive the pandemic but also thrive after it’s done. By asking the tough questions and continuously asking for feedback and collaboration, they’ve found business opportunities and internal processes to shift their focus to and improve – so that FlyForm can come out of this storm stronger than ever and ready to sprint again.

3. Celebrating small wins

When navigating through difficult situations, it can feel tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s important to celebrate the wins you have, small or large, as they’ll improve morale and remind team members of their value to the organisation.

FlyForm have celebrated a lot of small and large wins throughout this pandemic. The Friday team catch-ups always start with celebrations to reward the hard work and dedication of the team. Although the senior leaders have always done this during the weekly team catch-ups – it now carries even more weight.

Reinvigorating the team with positivity has led to team members feeling secure and confident. As a result, it allows them to continue focusing on productivity, creativity and delivery of excellent customer services.

4. Ask for feedback

It can be tempting for an organisation’s team of leaders to want to solve everything and carry the burden when things have deviated from their expectations. However, trying to solve a business’ issues in a silo can be damaging to your mental health and be detrimental to your company culture. The only way to navigate through this novel situation is together - by collaborating with employees and business partners

Although the COVID-19 has impacted FlyForm’s business, it’s also given our organisation an opportunity to look inward and fine-tune other areas within the organisation. As part of FlyForm’s 2020 Healthy goals, senior management wanted to ease project burnout and improve organisational processes. We’ve carried out a survey where FlyForm employees can voice their opinions about the changes they want to in the company. With the downtime, the team – informed by the survey results - has managed to roll out processes that will enable our success now and in the future.

We’ve also reached out to other business partners to check in on the state of their organisations and offered our help where we can, whether through daily word of encouragement or tangible project support.

We hope the lessons we’ve learned and our senior management’s example of leadership in hard times can inspire you to find the strength and resolve to move forward in a crisis.