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Why a Strong Leadership Team is the Key for Businesses Trying to Survive COVID-19

Business coach and author Mike Goldman explains how a brand’s core values and leaders have the potential to make or break a business during a crisis.

There is a seemingly endless list of circumstances that are outside of business’ control right now. From the ability to stay open to the future safety and spacing protocols that will have to be enforced, COVID-19 has put businesses in an unprecedented position. However, despite the current uncertainty, there are still some factors that businesses have control over — including how leadership teams respond.

Mike Goldman, business coach, speaker and author of the soon to be released book, “Breakthrough Leadership Team: Strengthening the Heart and Soul of Your Company,” sat down with 1851 Franchise to explain how the steps that leadership teams take now have the ability to make or break their survival on the other side of COVID-19. Goldman explained that while there are a number of things leaders can do to increase these odds of long-term success, there’s one that stands above the rest: communication.

“If brands used to have leadership meetings once a week, they need to do it at least twice a week. Check in with your employees and clients more often. It’s all about communication,” Goldman said. “Companies will either come out of this much stronger or much weaker. There aren’t going to be a lot of brands right in the middle — this will make or break companies. Now is the time for companies to show what their culture is made of. Brands might have core values, but are they just words on the wall? In a crisis, the leadership team needs to be able to back these values up.”

According to Goldman, brands that have had strong leadership teams before COVID-19 are already communicating heavily and living up to their core values. It’s those who struggled to gel as a group before the current crisis that will have to make a drastic change.

“Leadership teams that were strong before all of this will naturally do a great job of dealing with the crisis. There won’t be a revolutionary change, there just might be more collaboration or communication,” Goldman said. “For leadership teams that weren’t as strong, those companies will either not survive or they’ll realize that they need to make a change. I think and hope that many of those companies will have a realization of how important it is to keep things going.”

Another distinguishing factor between brands that will determine who survives the current crisis is whether or not they’re currently thinking ahead. Companies that are only concerned with how they’re going to make it through the next few weeks will likely be the ones to permanently close their doors in the long run.

“Companies that are reacting to this correctly are not just looking at the next day, week or month, they’re looking at mid- and long-term plans again,” said Goldman. “Even though we’re in the middle of a crisis, we can’t sit on our hands and wait until we get back to a ‘new normal.’ Great leaders need to start looking at what they want to do in the future and ask themselves how they’re going to get there. Successful leaders will use this time to get smarter about the way they do business.”

Getting smarter about the way brands do business doesn’t necessarily mean predicting the next big catastrophe or event. Instead, it means putting processes in place that allow businesses to pivot quickly if and when the need arises again.

“It’s easy to look at a situation like this and say, ‘Nobody expected it, so we weren’t prepared. That’s why we were slow to react.’ But leadership teams need to come together now and build a strong team,” said Goldman. “It’s true that business owners can’t predict every crisis, just like they can’t predict every opportunity. If brands have a strong team of players who trust each other, are vulnerable with each other and hold each other accountable, they can pivot and deal with whatever comes their way.”