His job is to sell meat.
Millions of pounds of it every month. The division he leads inside a Fortune 500 company was having a great year. But then an invisible virus started to spread. In a matter of days his entire world was turned upside down.
His team of sales reps works primarily with hotels, universities, and restaurants. On our recent call, he recited the number of hotels now closed across the United States. Universities are empty. And most restaurants are fighting for survival. “In our business of selling meat, we have a saying that if you don’t sell it you smell it,” he told us.
Success During Disruption Requires Specific Skills
Food production companies are experiencing something most businesses are going through: a massive shift in demand. That shift has dramatically reduced revenue while a few are experiencing a surge in demand. Both scenarios present challenges that require a set of skills critical to leading during disruption.
Throughout the early phase of this crisis our team has spent hundreds of hours with leaders of organizations and teams, large and small, who’ve each been tasked with the unexpected responsibility of preserving the future viability of their organizations. These leaders feel the responsibility of calming fears, preserving jobs, and maintaining customer trust. While every situation is unique, each interaction has informed our view of what it looks like for leaders to rise up and lean into the difficulties they are confronted with or what it looks like to do the opposite.
Through these interactions, we’ve identified five critical skills that impact any team’s ability to adapt at the required speed. The success of those adjustments hinges upon the team leader’s competency in these five skills: