Uncertain economies, shrinking sales funnels, and dwindling cash flow are the perfect breeding ground for fear to take over and poor decision-making habits to rear their ugly head. Unfortunately, this is often the reality for many organizations. Even those working hard to do better, in the face of current economic headwinds, we are seeing them teetering on the edge of leaning into courage or letting fear lead. Which will win out?
For years, we have worked with organizations in all industries across North America on Prioritized Leadership. This approach focuses on building leadership alignment and healthy culture through an intentional lens of Purpose, People, Pace, Perception, and Profit. The results include resisting the urge to let profits take the lead in decision-making and courageously leaning into your “Why.” Organizations reap the benefits of valuing their people while producing scalable and sustainable work cultures.
This Prioritized approach in leadership fosters innovation and delivers profitable results. It is brave because it is not the way most organizations are used to working. Prioritized Leadership equips leaders with the language and tools to effectively lead while also asking them to believe in the power that lives right within your organization…your people. The very ones that can and should carry out your purpose. To do this, you need to believe in what you have and are building. This concept resonates with the well-known quote from Zig Ziglar that “You don’t build business. You build people and then people build your business.” The truth is your people are your business. They are your differentiating factor. The one thing that others will never have is your unique makeup of people, aligned and working together to live into and realize your organizational purpose.
Much of this work comes down to fostering a courageous culture and protecting that courage, even when the times get tough. Tough…like shrinking sales funnels, dwindling cash flow, and the economic uncertainties that are here and now for many. We cannot ignore that profits are critical to business both now and always. Without them, your business would not exist. Yet, there is a significant difference between leading your organization to profits versus leading with profits. When profits take the lead, fear takes over and organizations end up measuring the wrong things. When we lead to profits, we leverage the collective power within our organization and unleash a courageous culture that can deliver the profits you need.
When an organization is still finding its sea legs of Prioritized Leadership, uncertain economic times will no doubt leave you standing at the pressurized intersection of Culture, Profit, Fear, and Courage. You are continually faced with making decisions that will either build a culture where trust and empowerment thrive…or die. Looking at the dollars and cents of P&Ls and Balance Sheets are important directional signals that serve as guides and/or warn us of pending cliffs. They allow you to both navigate and/or avoid the cliffs altogether and identify where we can protect and capture profits. However, when there is an economic downturn, we often witness organizations impulsively reacting with cuts and reductions in search of more efficient use of resources. The question is whether your organization dares to lean into your purpose and people and hold your leaders accountable for the critical planning that will unlock your differentiation.
The reality is that this intersection of culture, profit, fear, and courage is where an organization sees what it is made of. It is when organizations show their people, their customers, and their partners what they believe in and value most. It is in these moments where Prioritized Leaders will courageously rise or fall.
Will you challenge the old ways of thinking, the old ways of reacting, and be courageous enough to lean into who you are and what your collective teams are capable of? Will you foster a courageous culture, or will you lead with fear and a tunnel-visioned focus on profits?
A courageous culture will lead to profits when a space is created for people to speak up, share ideas, solve problems, and contribute meaningfully. It is a space where everyone sees themselves in the bigger picture and believes they are “all in this together.” Everyone knows they can and are expected to speak up when they see something that is not working and to actively go to bat for both the customer and your organizational purpose. As Karin Hurt and David Dye state in their book, Courageous Culture, “Courageous cultures go way beyond employee engagement. People are energized. They bring their whole selves to their work. Innovation is not limited. Everyone innovates, every day.”
If we want to lead to profits, we need to resist the fear of shrinking sales funnels and dwindling cash flow and courageously lean into building a culture with aligned, Prioritized Leadership. Economic uncertainties are the time for Prioritized Leaders to fulfill their call to greatness. Will you fall back into habits of profit-led decision-making, putting your head down and not speaking up when decisions being made are leading you away from your organizational purpose? Or will you rally your people to the larger organizational purpose and win together as a unified team?
If you find yourself standing at the intersection of Culture, Profit, Fear, and Courage, be brave and bold, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Profits are delivered by everyone doing their part. Lead the way and call others to greatness with you!
Are you and your leadership team ready to learn more about Prioritized Leadership? As master-certified trainers, we offer Prioritized Leadership programs for individuals and teams from Executive to mid-level management within your organization. Contact us today for an informational meeting on how the program would work for your organization.