Global conditions are rapidly changing, from economics to politics and beyond, and businesses are feeling the impact. Teams everywhere are being forced to modify their strategy on a dime and do more with less, all while keeping their team energized and morale high in the face of often unsettling change.
Against this backdrop, it’s not exactly the easiest time to start a new team leadership role. Your team is already reckoning with the impact of turbulent external forces on their operations – now they have a new leader who represents further change, even closer to home. If not handled properly, this situation can stress team dynamics and make it harder to build trust among your new team, which, ultimately, can negatively impact team performance.
A good strategic planning is one that’s nimble enough to allow for short-notice strategic pivots. That’s how elite military teams are able to respond to chaotic, rapidly-changing circumstances, and it’s how businesses can do the same. If you’re a new leader taking the reins of your team at a turbulent moment, here are three steps to get your team ready to weather the storm. By building these into your strategic planning process, you can not only survive, but thrive during times of change.
1. Turn stress into excitement
Sudden, drastic change leads to whiplash. The arrival of a new leader often causes shock, which makes it harder for that leader to build trust with their team. In moments like this, the new leader’s first goal should be to transform that feeling of shock into one of excitement. A new leader doesn’t only represent the end of the last era – they represent the dawn of a new one. And that’s something to be excited about. If you can shift your team’s mentality from one of whiplash and confusion to one of excitement for a fresh start, you’ll be in a great position to execute successfully on your goals.
So how can you achieve this shift in mentality? A good place to start is by communicating clearly to your new team that your goal isn’t just to change things for change’s sake – it’s to make the team successful. Pre-existing plans, campaigns, and projects that were working aren’t going anywhere. Things that you do plan to change or discontinue will be things that weren’t working anyway. And for anything you cut, you have a plan to replace it with something better – which brings us to our next step.
“A new leader doesn’t only represent the end of the last era – they represent the dawn of a new one. And that’s something to be excited about.”
2. Communicate your vision clearly
Great new leaders don’t just show up and start giving directives. They’re there to execute on a larger vision. Your team should have a clear understanding of that vision and your strategy for executing on it. What’s the plan for revenue execution? What kind of culture are you hoping to build? And – most importantly – why should the team be excited about all of this?
A good way to make your team feel valued and invested in this process is to start by laying out your overarching vision of success – and then, when building your roadmap to achieving that vision, to involve your team as much as possible in the strategic planning process. If you can make your vision compelling and give your team a hands-on role in developing a strategy to execute on it, you’ll be much better positioned to get the team-wide strategic buy-in you need to succeed as a leader.
“Start by laying out your overarching vision of success – and then, when building your roadmap to achieving that vision, to involve your team as much as possible in the strategic planning process.”
3. Get aligned on strategy
The steps we’ve outlined here will only work if everyone on the team is involved. When building excitement around a new strategy, it can be easy to miss signs that some members of your team are falling through the cracks – especially if you’re a new leader who is not yet fully acquainted, personally or professionally, with everyone on the team. That’s why it’s key to be vigilant about building and maintaining a common mental model to make sure that, once you start progressing toward your goals, everyone is on board.
Through high-energy seminars, workshops, and other events, Afterburner empowers businesses of all kinds to strengthen their strategic planning process. Get in touch to learn more.