Stay Safe

Mindy Barker | Barker Associates

Stay Safe. People are closing emails with this entreaty, wishing it of friends and family at the end of a gathering. The caution is a new reality in our life.  

“Stay safe” has many different interpretations to each of us and it is difficult to lead a team and keep them “safe” with so many interpretations. We cannot, as leaders, let the fear factor impact our ability to lead. We must remember that we are working with humans and lead with empathy, while encouraging each person to work as part of the team to execute the strategic initiatives of the organization. The employment contract between a business and an employee is a financial one and the investment in salary dollars must create a result that supports the initiatives to drive the strategy. 

“The fear of failure can be one of the biggest impediments to making an impact,” said Aja Brown, mayor of Compton, California, noting that leaders don’t make excuses — they lead. (Bizjournals, 5 Leadership Lessons for Women, From Women, 9/25/2018) 

Let’s lead, not make excuses. To help with effective leadership during this time I’d like to share my reflections on the challenges we have faced. 

I’ve been thinking about the differences between this century’s big financial crises: September 11, the 2008 financial crisis and today’s financial crisis brought on by the pandemic.  

  1. 9/11 united this country, but the pandemic has hardened a divide that was already in progress in so many segments. This divide creates opportunity for risk within all businesses, as all businesses have employees with so many different views. 
  1. The economic up-tick before the pandemic was fueled by fast- paced growth in innovation and technology that was not always backed by the proper governance and accountability. 
  1. According to Bain & Company more money has cycled through the PE industry in the last five years than any other period in the history of PE. The number of firms chasing opportunities to invest created a tilted supply/demand dynamic that significantly lowered the bar on due diligence and investment. 

Why does all of this matter as we approach a post pandemic state and lockdown restrictions begin to loosen? Let’s analyze that. 

Controversy in the media means that your employees may be more inclined to share their feelings and reactions to current events, with their teammates. As their leader you cannot ignore the impact this can have on the work environment, even if it’s a virtual environment. Maintaining healthy, constructive conversations while still performing and measuring results of work performance could be difficult for some types of leaders. 

Financial leaders are generally not the best at managing the human factors of daily work life. Leaders must set priorities that have measurable results with employees, even if the employee is working from home or transitioning back to the office. Your goal is to create a team atmosphere with a sense of belonging and accountability for performance. You must stay mindful of your fiduciary responsibility to make sure the investment of salary dollars result in the desired outcomes. Be aware that the complexity of that is more difficult when distance and social issues divide the team. 

Leading from a position of knowledge comes from having the right information infrastructure in place to set and monitor goals and performance.  When you add leading your team so all feel they belong and are part of the solution development, you will have an edge over those companies that are blindly making decisions.   

Let’s set up time to talk about how to effectively set up your infrastructure to provide real time financial data so you can have all of the brain power of your team working on developing a solution rather than doing data input. Use this link to my calendar to pick your free 30-minute consultation with me. 

Stay Safe, 

Mindy 

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