How to ensure you rebound

Tony Smale, of Forté Management, asks what leaders’ rebound strategies are and explains why being in a position to rebound once this is all over is so important.

Tony Smale wrote in an excellent commentary noting that how well our businesses get through the next few months of crisis and recovery – whether it’s a slow uphill drudge – or a powered-up rebound is going to hinge on leadership and attitude. 

“It’s time for leaders to excel,” he writes. “Communicating openly and honestly. Compassionate, empathetic and reassuring. Painting a crystal-clear picture of the pathway forward. Inspiring. Motivating. And making things happen. These more than anything else will be the difference between surviving (at best) and being ready to rebound into a prosperous future.” 

He says the rebound matters – a lot. 

 “When we get through the Covid-19 crisis we’re all going to have the same plant and processes available to us as now. 

“The burning question is will we have the same human talent and institutional knowledge available to us? Because it’s those and how we lead that will determine how well placed each of our businesses are to rebound. 

Smale says that while it seems like we’re navigating completely uncharted waters – that’s not so. 

“True we’ve never, in modern times, had to deal with a pandemic of this magnitude, let alone a pandemic triggered recession. But this isn’t the first global crisis – health or economic. It won’t be the last. What you do over the next few months matters for your future. 

“Of course we need to minimise the damage in the short term. But it is also critical to ensure that you, your people and your business are all in the best possible state to rebound.” 

Smale offers three lessons we can take from history: 

• Follow the science and work to calm the anxiety: Brains work better, see more options and opportunities and are more inclined to collaboration when they are calm and positive.

• It is the recovery that determines the extent of damage to individuals, businesses and the economy rather than the recession itself.

• It is those businesses that focus on their rebound, and dare we say it, continue to invest in, organisational development, keep in touch with their customers, pay attention to their staff’s welfare, that fare best. Don’t underestimate the value of your institutional knowledge and how hard it is to replace.

Smale writes that disruption doesn’t wait for you to be prepared. 

“But one of the few certainties is that with the adversity comes opportunities. 

“It is easy for the stress of the moment to obscure those opportunities and it might even seem mercenary to be talking about opportunities at times like this. 

“But the clear reality is, if we wait for things to settle and don’t actively seek out and grasp those opportunities now – they’ll be lost – forever.

 “In New Zealand we are world class at dealing with short term crises. Unfortunately, we’re not so good at dealing with the long term. That means that we need to be making a concerted effort to think off into the future – now,” Smale writes.  



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