In response to the challenges posed by COVID19 to our economy and communities, on the 9th April we launched our MXO programme as a private forum for leaders to gain peer-to-peer feedback, insight and perspective at this challenging time. As we enter unchartered territories, our goal is to enable leaders to share, learn and flourish beyond the crisis.
Our clients are responsible for making decisions which decide the future of their companies. MXO provides a private forum and peer group for our contacts in critical leadership functions across geographies and sectors, delivered through a monthly private webinar and access to the network thereafter,
We were proud to host a group of 17 CEO’s, Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs with representation from across the science, tech, auto, industrial and consumer markets and coverage from the US, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Morocco, Hong Kong and Singapore. To add some further perspective we were glad to also include a former Major General and a former hostage negotiator to add their input on crisis management.
Together we shared our experiences and learnings so far in tackling the crisis, with a heavy focus on the consideration of the human aspect at a time that is requiring massive transformation and intense pressure of top line revenue. It was clear that the opportunity to share experiences and learnings was hugely appreciated and provided some comfort when very difficult decisions are having to be made.
Alongside this, we saw a strong dose of realism and positivity to ensure that through the crisis people and companies can learn fast and use those learnings to enhance the future of individuals and the business. It is clear that in the face of these immense challenges, people are rising to the challenge and exceeding what might have previously been seen as impossible. This focus on learning and highlighting the opportunity to grow through crisis is at the heart of the leadership mindset that was portrayed across the group.
Below is a short summary of some of the key themes from our first session.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank Andy Salmon CMG OBE for opening the session so brilliantly for us.
• Trust and accountability are huge – you need to give trust to be able to operate at the requisite speed and intensity in these environments. The benefit is that this can in turn fast track individual growth and highlight high potentials.
• These crisis’ shine a light on the most capable in the leadership team
• The availability of accurate data is critical as you need to make rapid decisions – good enough data can be good enough so long as you make bold decisions and move forward
• Make decisions and get on with it – giving the company a sense of purpose gives them energy – find ways to motivate and engage the team to take them on a journey
• People have lost the certainty of their future. They need a clear direction to follow – give them one. This creates purpose and greater calm.
• Knowledge dispels fear
• Emotions make people “dumb” – when you are dealing with frightened or stressed people, you must deactivate the negatives in the other side. When you are going to deliver bad news, address the negatives proactively with empathy.
• Companies have demonstrated the ability to manage turnarounds and transformations in a matter of days that would typically take months or even years – how this agility is harnessed can be critical to the long term success as we come through this. Can we build this agility and new, more effective ways of working in to our company DNA? We discussed the reality of forecasting a P&L with zero revenue for six months and the questions that this poses to leaders as to how this situation can be managed.
• The need to connect with people has never been more important but there is evidence that the new model of remote working with greater trust delivers increased productivity. This is posing real questions about what model we might choose to return to.
• Ideas were shared to enhance communications through virtual tools with an emphasis on slowing down at the outset of the conversation to listen to where the other person is at, taking the time to understand more about the person through the window in to their home and encouraging each other to manage your energy and focus by sharing how you are taking breaks.
• Aligned to the points above, there is an interesting piece about how corporates can follow the military model where they better stress test their businesses for crisis situations – how can you look at your business through the lens of a crisis to assess if you are making the right decisions on people, process, investment in times of profit?
What next for MXO?
The next session is planned for 6th or 7th May at 8am Eastern time.
The theme for the next session will be: Defining your post-COVID19 strategy.
If you lead a business and would like to discuss being involved in the MXO programme please get in touch with Andrew Stoneham Knott at firstname.lastname@example.org.