Six big questions leaders are asking us, right now

Leaders are expected to chart a new course, agilely responding to rapidly changing needs and wants, constrained by money and information. Their employees, customers, suppliers and financiers demand answers, while they still grapple with so many questions. In our role as insight finders, we have extracted six big questions that leaders are asking, right now –

1. During the pandemic and beyond, why will the world be a better place because of us?
Shared purpose creates new energy that cascades through an enterprise. If your business has a purpose, this is the time to stress-test it. If you haven’t, there is no better time to think deeply on what value you truly offer, beyond price.

2. What small things will make a big difference to our employees’ lives?
People are physically, financially and emotionally fragile right now. Small things, done right, will earn years of loyalty. But what are those right small things?

3. How do we stay meaningfully connected to our customers’ and clients’ changing realities and new needs?
There are immediate, reactive changes elicited by panic; some may persist because new decisions work better; others will revert back to what-was. Stay in touch, listen to customers, learn from them – and show empathy through appropriate action.

4. How can we use what we know to influence new behavior?
There are new ways of working, new ways of shopping, new ways of making investments, seeking and receiving medical advice. The digital revolution impacts everyone’s life and this great shift has been accelerated by the pandemic. Often the biggest resistance comes from your own employees, uncomfortable with change. Start by co-creating the future with them.

5. How do we revise our business model to keep going?
The financial pain of the pandemic will be felt for years. Budgets in households and businesses are being cut, often savagely. New deals are being brokered. Can fees for work done, be exchanged for a percentage of success achieved? Can suppliers become partners? How might your products become services? Test a few options before you dive in. Do it now. Don’t miss the wave.

6. What do we do with our space, how do we re-think where and how people work?
The world of work may be changing forever, raising more questions than answers. How do you design for safe, social space in a call centre, a factory floor, a construction site? How will blended working from home and office affect morale, productivity, culture and office design? Do working hours and boundaries need to be reconsidered?

Uncertain times are good times to collect insights and stories, on a macro and micro level. Tools to gather insights exist. You need to ask the right questions. Keep it tight and responsive. And most importantly, keep it going.

Agile, fast insight-generation is vital. We can’t know it all. We can learn enough to take action, check the effect, double-down or course-correct, and check again. Leaders can lead in co-creating the future, right now.

Pippa Kapelus
Pippa uncovers and weaves insights into strategy