The second stage leaders can lead their people through right now, is Awareness and Hope. This stage is all about facing the situation head on, looking at what the landscape is with absolute honesty, no sugar coating, no panic, no rose-tinted glasses, just the naked truth of what is going on, but doing that leaning toward hope.
I have heard from clients already where they have sat in their boardroom and had some real, hard honest conversations of where things are at right now, where they will be and where they want to be once the dust settles. Some of those meetings have had tears flowing as people have realised the impact, but then those courageous leaders have opened up the floor to some brainstorm how to do things differently and from all of those clients, some sacrifices are being happily made as everyone has taken a measured hit so that everyone can come out on the other end. I know with absolute confidence that these companies will be stronger for it.
The message sent to this employees is we care about you and we are in this together. The leaders, some with lumps in their throats and tears in their eyes have said how their staff have gone beyond the call of duty to support the leadership to ride the tide. This is the beautiful stuff that comes out of adversity. I am so grateful for the work we did to get clear on their vision and their values because that is what is guiding the very hard decisions they are making right now.
The resounding atmosphere around these organisations is hope. Everyone is aware of the situation, their leaders have created certainty around what they have control of, they know where they are going and they know why.
As Viktor Frankl says, “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”
Here is a little excerpt from my book around hope. The journey from here to there. Learning to navigate the land in between.
"The Merriam Webster dictionary defines hope as “1. to desire with expectation of obtainment. 2. to expect with confidence.” In a Facebook post on hope, Brené Brown writes that, “Like most people, I always thought of hope as an emotion - like a warm feeling of optimism and possibility. I was wrong. I was shocked to discover that hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.
Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process made up of what [researcher] CR Snyder calls a trilogy of goals, pathways and agency.”6 She argues that hope happens when: 1. We know where we want to go, 2. We know how to get there, are persistent, and can tolerate disappointments and try again, and 3. We believe we can do this. Without hope we lack vision, without vision we perish."
Leaders, build Hope!
If there ever was a season for hope, this is it. You have got this!