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Are You Focused on Survival or Revival?

 

A New Clarity of Focus

The impact of the Covid-19 Crisis varies greatly across organizations, industries and markets. For some organizations the crisis threatens ‘survival’, for others it holds the promise of ‘revival’ and for most it offers a mix of the two.

Obviously, whether the focus is on ‘revival’ or ‘survival’ depends on the realities of what is happening in a particular market space. But it also depends on non-market related factors too. That even includes mindset.

Explore why your position on the continuum between ‘survival’ and ‘revival’ reveals as much about mindset as it does about strategy, or even reality.

Positive or Negative?

Sometimes it can feel like there is a lot of pressure to be positive and upbeat, even in the midst of a crisis. Yet, as we talk to leaders (and we talk to a lot of them) it is clear that it is not simply a matter of being either ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. Besides, ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ are terms that can be unhelpful.

So, as we listen to leaders talk about the opportunities and challenges they are facing, a classification of ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ isn’t very helpful. In its place we have put a 10 point scale reflecting mindset and in particular expectations from survival (1) to revival (10). 

A More Nuanced View

Where on the scale (from ‘survival’ to ‘revival’) do you find yourself today? Please pick a number on the scale below and write it down.

You could think of this as the ‘survival-revival’ equivalent of ‘glass half-full’ and ‘glass half-empty’ but on a 10 point scale. This reflects the fact that people are rarely completely just one thing or the other. We can be both concerned with survival and at the same time hopeful of opportunities for revival.

Interestingly, as leaders answer this question it becomes clear that the answer often has as much to do with mindset, as it does with strategy, or even reality. We know this because two leaders in the same sector, even the same organization can have very different answers.

This 10 point ‘survive-revive’ scale reflects the belief what defines us is not our challenges, but rather how we respond to them.  In this respect we can’t control the crisis. However, we can (hopefully) control how we respond to it.  Hopefully we will not be paralysed by the anxiety and uncertainty, but rather empowered to think and act. That is to do our best for our organizations, as well as our selves our families, colleagues and communities.

Focused on ‘Survival’

The closer you are to ‘survival’ the more you focus is on survival – that is getting through the crisis and out the other side.

The closer you are to ‘1’ (left-hand side) on the scale the more you may be thinking ‘we may not survive this’. With this sense of impending doom may come paralysis, retrenchment and an obsession with risk. It is a double-punch where negative events are compounded by an inability to take action.

For many organizations whose doors are closed and whose customers have slashed spending, survival naturally tops the agenda. Thankfully, the majority of our clients, while they cannot be complacent about the long-term implications of a prolonged crisis, are not in ‘survival’, but rather ‘revival’ mode.  

See the panel at the end (called ‘Sentiment and Data’) if you would like to explore the measurement of Sentiment as well as the role of data.

Focused on ‘Revival’

The closer you are to ‘revival’ the more you see opportunity in the crisis.

You are determined ‘not to waste a good crisis’, seeing it as an opportunity to adapt, innovate and transform. You see opportunities, not just threats and are enabled to adapt, pivot, transform and innovate.

Another name for this survival-revival score might be the ‘peril-promise’. The goal of course is to minimize the peril (survival) and maximize the promise (revival).

Changes Over Time

You may recall from the wording above that we asked where you are today because the number can go up and down over time. 

We all have our ups and downs – when we are feeling hopeful and confident as well as when we are feeling gloomy and frustrated. The general mood in the environment can be a factor too:  When the first lock-down ended there was optimism and relief.  Now that may have turned to pessimism and dismay. Knowing that the mood and outlook will change overtime, focuses attention on how to sustain forward momentum.

The Team Mood

A leadership team can be ‘all over the place‘ with people being at different places on the scale (see below). This makes a consistent response to the crisis difficult.

The effect of our colleagues on our own outlook or mood is very real. Moreover, the mood displayed by the leaders can be particularly contagious. A word of caution however: A leader who pretends that everything is ‘ok’ and fails particularly to give credence to the legitimate concerns of others can send people further into ‘survival’ mode.

Where do you need to be?

A very low number on the scale (e.g. 1 or 2) could indicate despair. A very high score could indicate wishful thinking, even denial. Perhaps a score in the range of 5-9 might be ideal. It does not mean denying the many challenges that exist, but yet being future-focused and positive. Thereby uncertainty or anxiety fuels determination, creativity and innovation. But how to keep at team in such a future focused and positive state?

Virtual Pitstops help leaders & their critical teams to to sustain performance under pressure. Also, to stay future-focused & positive so that they can drive key business priorities and initiatives.

Virtual Pitstops leverage analytics to profile the ability of leadership teams to respond to the crisis, as well as the risks to the delivery of key projects and priorities.

Are you ready to pitstop?

Sentiment & Data
The Survival Revival Scale is a high level gauge of sentiment can be very revealing, although our analytics obviously delves a lot deeper. However, please don’t underestimate the importance of sentiment – it is an important piece of qualitative data. It is important because while we can’t control the crisis, we can (hopefully) control our response to it. That is if the crisis finds us in a state of mind that enables those ‘clear-headed’ decisions and purposeful actions to minimize the impact on our organizations, colleagues and families, as well as on ourselves. That is the true measure of coping in a crisis.

 

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