1. Courageous & Bold Leaders – A company is as strong as the pillars it has in its structures (the leaders). The combined courage and boldness of leaders usually permeates into the teams creating a vibrant work ethic and strong business. Leaders need courage to confront and fight economic wars. Tough times require risks to be taken. Risk taking is a quality necessary in every leader. If one cannot take risks then the company will not only stagnate but recede in the face of hardships. Taking risks is going against the grain sometimes. It is jumping in while others are opting out. It is an act of bravery, “if we perish we perish” attitude.
2. Creative Think tanks & Troubleshooters – Different situations require different strategic thinking and solutions. An organization without strategists will not last. Some problems mutate and change shape and require creativity and versatility. Creativity is necessary in knowing what other product lines can be done to sustain the company through the muddy waters. What ideas can the company diversify into? What is the best way out of the darkness? Sometimes employees who are far down on the organizational chart may prescribe solutions that work but it calls for leaders who can accommodate other views without feeling intimidated. Accepting the situation being faced by the organization as it is plainly opens room for people to think outside the box about their own safety and security on the job.
3. Very Vivid Vision – Every company exists because it was someone’s idea which was developed until present day position. A company requires that vision and idea to remain vivid in the hearts and minds of every employee and leader. With no vision, everyone does as they please. You may have a vision but the question to ponder on is how many employees know and share with the visionary. The leaders must share the vision and ensure everyone knows where the company is going. Where there is no vision it is like a ship in the waters lacking a compass, any direction the wind blows is where the ship is likely to go. If ever a company can twirl and twist with every pressure that comes, it is only a matter of time before the company lands in the wilderness.
4. Strong Systems – Controls – Controls are necessary in every department of the organization. Where controls do not exist, the company will waste time, money and raw materials. Tough times call for tight management and control of every resource the company posses. Every employee has to be informed and advised of the current position and reality. Some employees will not know where the company is in terms of performance until someone takes the initiative to inform and educate them. There is need for a system for everything from production processes, stock handling, reception management, office procedures, IT usage, finance procedures, security etc Always test the systems, fine tune and tweak them so that they become robust and full proof.
5. Culture of Taking Responsibility – Leaders must cultivate a culture of taking ownership and responsibility for the good and bad times. Leaders who shift blame and point fingers all the time will always lose the confidence of the teams they lead. There are times when leaders have to take responsibility for every decision and activity rather than shoving all the blame in the direction of shop floor staff. A culture of taking responsibility is necessary to build a strong team and business. Leaders have to take the initiative and lead by example. You cannot expect from your employees something you struggle to model. People will refuse to take responsibility if doing so always end up in punitive measures being taken against them.
6. People of Perseverance & Loyalty – This is the ability to stay put and not quit prematurely. If you cannot persevere, you faint half way. Perseverance is the ability to stick in or press in even in the midst of uncertainty. It is certainly a painful experience. Pain has to be shared across the board if the company is to survive. Piling the pressure on a few people will burn them out. When leaders have teams they can fall back on in tough moments then perseverance becomes a shared responsibility. You can never be too high and mighty not to require the support and encouragement of those you lead.
7. Strict Cash-flow Management – Companies that survive the tough moments have the right attitude towards their cash flows. They are concerned about how fast money comes and how long it stays within the company. If something is not on the budget, you should not spend on it. Get all debtors to pay on time so that creditors can also be paid on time. Live within your means as a business. Cash-flow management does not however mean that you have to hold onto money that belongs to your suppliers. You are making so much money using other people’s products, it is only fair to pay those you owe on time if you expect your debtors to do the same.
8. Unified Teamwork– Nothing beats the force of unity. In the hardest of times, teams have to encourage one another to hang in there. Unified teams share experiences and responsibilities. There is stuff that Finance teams may know about production which they may not share with the production team for cross pollination. If teams are isolated like islands on their own, information the company could use for survival may not find its way to the right people.
9. Quick & Responsive Leadership – A company that is not swift enough to respond to situations quicker will soon be extinct. It is easy to pay a blind eye to situations or problems while they are still small. Every situation requires the management or leadership to respond rather swiftly than wait for an utmost catastrophe. Speed and alacrity are a great necessity in ensuring that the company does not have to wait to deal with giants when they can thwart the problem at its inception.
10. Wisdom Centered Approach – With no wisdom, governance of the company is difficult. Wisdom is being able to judge situations wisely and make informed decisions. It is great wisdom to explore possibilities and choose the best way out. The problem in most companies is not lack of finance or other external pressures but lack of wisdom.
Rabison Shumba is a young African entrepreneur who has interests in Information and Communication Technology, Agriculture and Mining. He is also a motivational speaker, trainer and author. His book, The Greatness Manual and various online articles are tools for personal and professional development. Together with 100 other Career Experts, Rabison co-authored the 101 Great Ways to Enhance your Career. Rabison has a personal vision of impacting the lives of children in marginalized communities by creating platforms for career counsel and guidance, information empowerment and capacity building through the Greatness Factory Trust, where he currently holds the position of Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Acting Executive Director. He is actively involved in the organization of career enhancement and guidance colloquiums to propel and inspire both young and mature professionals to greatness. His areas of expertise include strategy, leadership, personal and professional development. Rabison is married to Jackie, and they have two daughters. They reside in Harare, Zimbabwe. [http://www.greatnessmanual.com] or http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/rshumba