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Leadership Lessons From Corona: #1

October 22, 2020 by Twan van de Kerkhof

I interviewed 22 leaders about their leadership lessons during and beyond Covid-19. I summarized 7 key insights from these interviews. The first one is: Always prepare for the worst.

Always be aware that the unimaginable is possible: pandemics, terrorist attacks, war, economic collapse, you name it. There is no such thing as a status quo nor a zero-risk society in which adversities are eliminated. The unthinkable of today is the obvious of tomorrow. You need to fully understand the potential downsides that you are facing.

Make scenarios (not forecasts); plan on ‘what if’ and be ready to act on it. Non-executives and shareholders, including private equity, can assist in building those scenarios because they bring perspectives from other organizations and industries.

Amplify your financial buffers and manage your liquidity. Be aware that costs are quite certain and revenues are not. You can better manage a crisis when your house is in order.

The good news is that going through a crisis will build muscle in the organization and its leadership. Dealing with the next crisis, even if it is totally different, will be slightly easier.