When the Earth moves around You, but nothing seems to be Working Out!

Apr 27, 2024

We all face difficult times in business, which can be likened to surviving a tsunami. These trying times may result from external factors such as economic circumstances or internal changes where employees are not performing as they once did. During such periods, the legal and structural framework of a business is put to the test. Leaders, especially those in small organisations, feel the challenges more acutely and are tested in their capacity to handle them. Here are a few lessons i have learnt.

We all face difficult times in business, which can be likened to surviving a tsunami. These trying times may result from external factors such as economic circumstances or internal changes where employees are not performing as they once did. This trend is becoming more common in South Africa.

During such periods, the legal and structural framework of a business is put to the test. Leaders, especially those in small organisations, feel the challenges more acutely and are tested in their capacity to handle them. It is important to take proactive measures to avoid burnout during such times.

Therefore, revising your structures should be considered as a crucial first step. Here are some tips I have found to be very useful over the years:

  1. Proactively assessing potential risks and ensuring compliance with relevant laws can help mitigate possible legal challenges a business may face. Regular audits and updates to policies in line with changing regulations ensure that a company remains on a solid legal footing.
  2. It’s essential to re-examine relationships with suppliers, customers, and employees during a crisis to ensure they are effective. Having flexible contract terms with these groups can provide the necessary leeway to adjust operations during difficult times.
  3. Protecting intellectual property is crucial to maintaining a business’s competitive edge and revenue streams through licensing or other forms of annuity incomes, even when other areas of the business are struggling. Expanding the range of offerings can help tap into new markets and reduce dependency on a single product or service line.
  4. Simplifying operations and flattening hierarchical structures can lead to more efficient decision-making and cost savings.

Through years of experience, I have discovered key leadership elements that must be incorporated into the process of restructuring.

  1. As a leader, taking care of your well-being is essential in setting a positive tone for your team. Remember, you cannot support others effectively if you are not taking care of yourself.
  1. During a crisis, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with demands on your time and energy. To avoid burnout, it’s important to set clear boundaries around your work hours and commitments. When possible, delegate tasks to others and communicate your boundaries effectively to your team and stakeholders. Delegating responsibility and empowering your team members to make decisions fosters a sense of ownership and autonomy. Trust your team to handle tasks independently, allowing you to focus on strategic priorities and alleviate some of the pressure on yourself.
  1. It’s important to create an environment of open communication within your team. This will allow employees to share their concerns, ideas, and ask for support. Transparent communication builds trust and collaboration, which can help your team stay resilient in tough times.
  1. While it’s important to address immediate challenges head-on, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Remind yourself and your team of past successes and the resilience you’ve demonstrated in overcoming obstacles. Maintain a sense of optimism and focus on solutions rather than dwelling on problems.

Remember to lead by example and model healthy behaviours such as taking breaks, seeking support, and practising self-care. This will inspire your team to prioritise their well-being and set a tone for a culture of resilience and self-care within the organisation. Again, no one can pour effectively from an empty cup.

During tough times, it’s important to take strategic measures that are both legally sound and structurally effective.

I want to conclude with a poem by Tupac Shakur:

The Rose that grew from Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?

Proving nature’s law is wrong it earned to walk without having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.

author avatar
Nicolene
Share via:

You might
also like…

Business Silver Linings – Post-Election and Down in the Dumps Economy? Possible?

Business Silver Linings – Post-Election and Down in the Dumps Economy? Possible?

In times of economic hardship, businesses face challenges that test their resilience and adaptability. We have just returned from the election polls in South Africa. The uncertainty of the unprecedented outcome has been felt throughout society and in our pockets. While this can be daunting, it also presents invaluable lessons that can strengthen a business’s foundation and prepare it for future uncertainties. It could serve as a valuable opportunity to adjust or even to measure impact and relevance.

Pushing Boundaries or Breaking Bonds?

Pushing Boundaries or Breaking Bonds?

In South Africa, many businesses are family-owned and operated, with ownership often passing from one generation to the next along the male line. Traditionally, this means that many women support their fathers, brothers, and spouses in the business. Although this sounds familiar or even “as things should be” situation, managing a family business involves navigating complex personal and professional relationships. Be that as it may, family businesses are more than that – they are central to the reality of many families. It is not just another business; it goes to the very core of financial prosperity and home dynamics.

It is indeed a complex situation, but let’s add another layer of complexity, one that we rarely hear ventilated until we are in a courtroom. What happens when a woman is the leader instead of a man? Perhaps, let me put it bluntly, it is when a woman employs her husband, partner, father, or brother.

The issues this brings is a shared responsibility to address, it refers to how we raise our children and support our friends and families that find themselves in the grips of this reality. If we get this right, this will not only benefit the women at the helm but also strengthen the family business sector and the family unit as a whole.