While managers may think they are prepared to lead their teams during a crisis, when that time hits, they sometimes realize they are not. Facing the reality of a crisis and embracing change is the first step. Being transparent is key, as well as leading with care, intention, and sticking to your values.
Those are some of the points that Lori Brown, CPP, Finance Director of Payroll Operations at Hanger, Inc., and Stephanie Salavejus, CPP, Vice President and COO of PenSoft, made during their workshop “Lessons Learned From Leading During a Crisis” on Tuesday.
Brown and Salavejus shared their experiences so attendees could learn and lead with confidence for what the future holds.
“During a major crisis, prepare for the situation to get worse before it gets better,” Salavejus said. “At the beginning of any disaster, the outlook is grim, but while the operating efficiencies may come quickly, expect other aspects of the operation will turn downward.”
As an example, she said working from home without in-person support from co-workers resulted in lower-than-normal productivity because of the emotional component of feeling alone and isolated while working remotely.
One clear example of leading in a crisis has come during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the computer hardware supply chain.
“Never in my career, which spans over 30 years, have I experienced a shortage of resources as experienced last year,” she said. “It gave me a new meaning for defining supply-chain risks.”
Brown and Salavejus made sure everyone benefited from their presentation.
“During a crisis, organizations transition to enterprise-wide collaboration versus a top-down approach, and non-managers will need to learn how to prepare for these new roles,” she said. “They can begin upskilling and reskilling in preparation to adapt for the next disaster.”
Donna Stoffel, CPP, appreciated the presenters' advice.
"Very good presentation," she wrote. "Provided real-life experiences that everyone can put into place."
Photo: Brown, Salavejus